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Full text of "London labour and the London poor"

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\ IIMIGS 



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VSAFBS. 



IPANT, 1 



LONDON LABOUR 



AKD THE 



LONDON POOR ; 



CYCLOPAEDIA OF THE CONDITION AND EARNINGS 



THOSE THAT WILL WOEK, 
THOSE THAT CANNOT WORK, AND 
THOSE THAT WILL NOT WOEK. 

BY 

HENRY MAYHEW. 
THE LONDON STREET-FOLK; 

OOXPBISINO, 
STREET SELLEBS. | STREET PERFOBMEBS. 



STREET BUYERS. 
STREET FINDERS. 



STREET ARTIZANS. 
STREET LABOURERS. 



WITH NT7MEBOUS :iI<I.nSTBATIONS FBOM FHOTOQBAPHS. 

VOLUME in. 

LONDON: 
GRIFFIN, BOHN, AND COMPANY, 

STATIONERS' HALL COUBT. 
1861. 



^5^.. e.. bO 



i 






{ 



V.1 



'i y I » 



.•a«: 



^.^ ^ r - • ^ ^ \ ri.1 



riOUr^* KUrf fiiM 



^' ^a HCCfVlOJ 




LONDON LABOUR 



LONDON POOR. 



THE LONDON STBEET-FOLK. 



' \i rj. \/ J. 



XI 



l«AP/ • 



QCmoj 2H\ 




1 •! 



LONDON LABOUR 



LONDON POOE. 



THE LONDON STKEET-FOLK. 



xjO!(mii: nxsTED BT w. moma asj> bou, STAaioiD streit avd chaxikq csom. 



LIST OP ILLUSTRATIONS. 



PAOI 

Kat-Eilliko at Sfobtinq PuBLic-HorsEs -------7 

Jack Black, Bat>Killeb to Her Majksty ---..- h 
Prxcn's Showman, with AssiBTAirr .......45 

Grr FArx --.--.-..--63 
Stbeet-Teleboofe Ezhibitob .--..---81 

StBEET-AoBOBATB PKBTOBMniG --------93 

STRKET-€k>NJIJBOB - - - - - - - - - -117 

Cibccb-Clown AT Faib .-------- 132 

Street-Pebfobmebs OS Stilts --.-----150 

Old Sarah -----..---- igo 

ErmopLiN Sebenadkbs -...-.--- 190 

LfTTEBioB or Photogbafheb's Tbayellinq Cakatan - ... - 207 

A GARBET-MAffrEB, OR Ghbap Gabinet-Makeb ------ 225 

Gaho OF Coal-Whuters at work below Bridge ----- 241 

Cqai^Pobters FiLuiro WAOGoa» at Coal-Wharf - - - - - 261 

Ballast-heaters at Work ih the Pool ------- 279 

Lumpers Dischaboiho Timber-Ship ik Commercial Dock - - - ' - 297 

A Dinner at a Cheap Lodoino-House ------- 314 

Thames Lightermen tcooino awat at the Oar - - - - - 338 

Cab-Driter ----------- 351 

Street Ticket-Pobtxrs with Knot -..-..- 354 

Yaobaiit in the Casual Wabd of Wobkhovse ------ 387 

Vaobant, from the Befuge in Plathoubb-Yard, Crifplbqate - - . 406 

Vagrant, from Asylum fob the Houseless Poob ----- 428 

Meeting of Ticket-of-Leayb Men --•---. 430 



CONTENTS 

OF 

VOLUME m. 
THE STEEET-FOLK 

PACK 
TdE DE8TBOYEB8 OF YeBMIN ........j 

Stbeet-Exhibitobs -------.-.43 

Stbeet-Musicians -------...158 

Stbeet-Yocalists ------.-..190 

StBEET-AbTISTB ------.... OQ^ 

exhibitobs of tuained astmais ------.. 214 

Skilled asd Unskilled Laboub ---.-...221 

GABBET-MAflfTEBS --------.-221 

The CoaitHkayebs ---.--.... 234 

Ballabt-IIIen -------.-.. 2G5 

LuMFZBS ---------.-. 288 

The Dock-Laboubeb8 -------... 300 

Cni;^ LoDORfG-HousEB ------... 312 

The Tbansit of Gbeat Bbttain and the Metbofolxs - - . . 313 

IiOinx>3r Watebxee, Liohtebmex, and Steauboat-Men - •> . . 327 

London Omnibus-Dbiyebs and Conductobs ---..« 33q 

London Gab-Dbitebb -----..... 352 

London Cabmen and Pobtebs ---..... 357 

IX)NDON YaOBANTS ------.•.. 3^ 



Meetino of Ticket-of-Leave Men 



430 



CONTENTS 

OF 

VOLUME HL 
THE STREET-FOLK. 

PAGE 

The Debtboyxbs of Vebmin .----...j 

I Stheet-Exhibitobs ----------43 

I STBEET-MrSIdANS ---------« JQg 

Stbket-Yocalists ----------190 

, Street-Abtistb ---------. 204 

I ExmBXTOBS or Trained Animals -------- 214 

I 

j Skilled and Unskilled Labocb -------- 221 

I GABBn-MABTKBS ----------221 

The Coal-Hkatebs ----------234 

I Ballast-Men ----------- 2G5 

LrxFEBS ------------ 288 

' Tnz Dock-Labocbebs ---------- 300 

Cheap LoDGiNo-HorsES --------- 312 

The Tbanbit or Gbeat Britain and the Metbofolxs - - . . 323 

London Watebmen, Lightermen, and Steamboat-Men - - - - 327 

I London Omnibus-Dritxbs and Conduoiobs -----« 330 

London Cab-Dbitebs -------- -.351 

I London Cabmen and Pobtebs -----... 357 

I London Vaobantb ----.-.... 3^ 

Meetcio of Ticketot-Leave Men ---.... 430 



LONDON LABOUR 



AND 



THE LONDON POOR 



THE DESTROYERS OF VERMIN. 



Ths Baz-£ili£B. 

IN " the Brill," or rather in Brill-place, 
Somers'-town, there is a variety of courts 
branching oat into Chapel-street, and in 
one of tho most angular and obscure of these is 
to be found a perfect nest of rat-catchers — not 
r\iogcther professional rat-catchers, bat for 
the most part sporting mechanics and coster- 
1 LLongers. The court is not easily to be found, 
being inhabited by men not so well known in 
Iho inime\Uate neighbourhood as perhaps a 
mile or two away, and only to be discovered by 
the aid and dinectioo of the little girl at the 
ueiixhhomiDg cat's-meat shop. 

JVJ r first experience of this court was the 
usual diftturbttuce at the entrance. I found 
ono end or branch of it filled with a mob of eager 
listeners principally women, all attracted to a 
particular house by the sounds of quarrelling. 
One man gave it as his opinion that the dis- 
turbers must have earned too much money 
yesterday ; and a woman, speaking to another 
who hod just come out, lifting up both her 
lionds and laughing, said, *^ Here they are— at 
it ai^om ! *' 

1 he rat-killer whom we were in search of 
WAS oat at his stall in Chapel-street when we 
called, hut his wifo soon fetched him. He was 
a strong, sturdy-looking man, rather above tbc 
middle height, with hght hair, ending in sandy 
wliiskers, reaching \mder his chin, sharp deep- 
set eyes, a tight-skinned nose that looked as if 
the cuticle had been stretched to its utmost on 
its bridge. He was dressed in the ordinaiy 
cordaroy costermonger habit, having, in addi- 
tion, a dai'k blue Guernsey drawn over his 
wai^tcoat^ 

The man's first anxiety was to show us that 
raU were not his only diversion ; and in con- 
sequence he took UB into the yard of the house, 
where in a shed la^ a bull-dog, a bull-bitch, 
and a litter of j>up8 just a week old. They did 



not belong to him, but he said he did a good 
deal in the way of curing dogs when he could 
get 'em. 

On a shelf in this shed wore two large 
dishes, the one containing mussels without the 
shells, and tlie other eels ; these are the com- 
modities in which lie deals at present, so that 
he is properly what one would call a^*picklad- 
eel seller." 

We found his room on the first-floor clean 
and tidy, of a good size, containing two bed- 
steads and a large sea-chest, besides an old- 
fashioned, rickety, mahogany table, while in a 
far comer of the room, perhaps waiting for the 
cold weather and the winter's fire, was an arm- 
chair. Behind the door hung a couple of dog- 
leads, made of strong leather, and nrtmnntnl 
with brass. Against one side of the wall were 
two framed engrarin^s of animals, and a sort 
of chart of animated uatiure, while over the 
mantel. shelf was a vaiiety of most character- 
istic articles. Amonpr these appeared a model 
of a bull-dog's head, cut out of sandstone, and 
painted in imitation of nature — a most mar- 
vellous piece of ugliness. ^ He was the best 
dog I ever see," said the host, " and when I 
parted with him for a ten -pound note, a man 
as worked in Uie New Road took and raado 
this model — ^he was a real beauty, was that dog. 
The man as carved that there, didn't have no 
dilficulty in holdin' him still, becos he was very 
good at that sort o' thing; and when he'd 
looked at anything he couldn't be off doin' it" 

There were alsi) a great many common 
prints about the wells, " a penny eacli, frame 
and all," amongst which were four dogs — all 
ratting— a game cock, two Robinson Cruaoes, 
and three scripture subjects. 

There was, besides, a photograph of another 
favourite dog which hod " had give him." 

The man apologised for the bareness of the 
room, but said, *• You see, master, my brother 
went over to 'Merica contracting fbr a railway 



Ko. i.V. 



\i 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



under Peto's, and they sends to me about a i 
year ago, telling iiie to get together as many . 
Lkely fellowb o.^ 1 could (about u dozen), nnd | 
m^} tlieni over a*» excavators ; and when 1 was j 
ready, to f^o to I'eiu's and get ^vliut money I I 
wanted. Itut wlien I'd gut tlie men, bold olT, 
all my stieks, and went for tlie money, they \ 
told mo my brother hud got plenty, and that if 
Jie wanted me he ought to be ashamed of 
Irisself not to send some over hissclf; so I 
just got togetlier these few things again, and I 
ain't heard of nothing at all about it since." 

AAer I liad sutisfit-d him that I was not a 
collector of dog-tax, trying to liud out how 
many animals he kept, he gave me what he 
evidently tlnaif^lit was "a treat" — a peep at 
his bull-dog, wliii'h he fetched from upstairs, 
and let it jump ubi»ut the room with a most 
unpleasant hberty, informing me the wliile 
how he had given live poimd fur him, and 
that one of the first pups he got by a bull he 
had got five pounds for, and that cleared him. 
•* That Punch" {the bull dog's name), he said, 
** is as quiet as a lamb — wouldn't Imrt nobody ; 
I frequently takes him through the streets 
without a lead. Sartainly lie killed a cat the 
t'other aficmoon, but ho couldn't help that, 
'cause the cat Hew at him ; tliough he took it 
as quietly as a man woidd a woman hi a pas- 
sion, and only went at her just to save his 
eyes. But you couldn't ea.sy get him off, mas- 
ter, when he once got a lu»lt. Ho was a good 
one for rats, and, ho believed, the stanchest and 
tiicksiest dog in London." 

When he had token the brut« upstairs, for 
which I was not a little thankful, the man 
made the following statement : — 

<'I a'n't a Londoner. I've travelled all 
about the coimtxy. I'm a native of Iver, in 
Buckinghamshire . I've been three year heie 
at Uiese lodgings, and live year in London 
altogetlier up to last September. 

" Before I como to ]^>ndiin I wjis nothink, 
hir— a laboiu'ing man, an oshkrwator. 1 come 
to London the Kame as Uie rest^ to do anytliiuk 
1 could. I was at work at the eshkewati'ons at 
King's Cross Station. I work as hard as nuy 
man in London, I think. 

♦« When the station was finished, I, having a 
large family, thought I'd do the best I couhl, 
so I went to bi> forenmn at the (.-aleilonian Saw- 
mills. I st<»pp«'d tlurn a twelvemonth; but 
ontMlay I went f«>r a load and a-half of lime, 
and where y<iu frtfhes n loud and a-lndf of lime 
they alwoys givrs you fowrpence. So as I was 
having apint oflM-er out ;»f it, my master come 
by and saw \w drinking, and give me the 
8a(*k. Thi'u Ih- wanted me to ux his pardon, 
audi might slop; Imt I told him I wouldn't 
beg no onr's pardon for drinking a pint of beer 
as wjiH give nir. So 1 left there. 

*• Kver sini-e the (.in-at Western was begun, 
my family has bet>n distributed all over the 
country, where>rr there was a railway making. 
'My broth«'i*s were contractors for Peto, and I 
generally worked fur my brothers; butlhey*ve 



gone to America, and taken a contract f(>r a 
railway at St. John's, New Biiinswiek, British 
North America. I can do anythmg in the 
eshkewadng way — I don't care what it is. 

** After I left the Caledonian Sawmills I 
went to Billingsgate, and bt>ught anythink I 
could see a chance of gettin' a shilling out on, 
or to'ards keeping my family. • 

" All my lifetime I've bren a-dealing a little 
in rats ; but it was not till I come to London 
that I turned my mind fully to that si.>rt of 
thing. My father always had a great notion 
of the same. We all like the sport. When 
any on us was in tlie country, and the farmers 
wanted us to, we'd do it. If an \ body heerd 
tell of my being an activish chap like, iu that 
BoH of way, they'd get me to rome for a day 
or so. 

*' If anybody has a plaro that's eaten up 
with rats, I goes and gets some feniiu, and 
takes a dog, if I've got one, and manner*: s to 
kill 'em. Sometimes I keep my own feirui>i, 
but mo&tly I bon-ows them, Tliis yomi^ man 
that's with me, he'll sometimes have an onU r 
ti) go tifty or sixty mile into tlie countiy, ami 
then ho buys his ferruts, or gets them the 
best way ho can. They ciiarges a go«»l sum 
for the loan of 'em — sometimes as much as 
you get for the job. 

"You can buy ferruts at Ijcadenludl -market 
for 5a. or 7a. — it idl depends; you cant get 
them all at one price, Homo of 'em is r« al 
Cowards to what others is; some won't even 
kill a rat. The way wo tries 'em is, vi'jMits 
'em down anywhere, in a room may Ik.*, >viih a 
rat, and if they smell about and won't ^'o lU) 
to it, why they won't do; 'caust y..u >ei-. 
sometimes the ferrut has to go up a hole, and 
at the end there may be a dozen or sixteen 
rats, and if he hasn't got the heart to tackli> 
one on 'em, why he ain't worth a furden. 

" I have kept ferruts for four or five months 
at a time, but they're nasty stinking tilings. 
I've had them get loose; but, bless you. they 
do no harm, they're as hinnocent as cats ; they 
won't hurt nothink ; you cau play with them 
like a kitten. Some puts things down to ketch 
rats — sorts of pison, which is tlieir serret — 
but I don't. I i-elies upon my dogs and foiTuts, 
and nothink else. 

" I%ent to desti*oy a few rats tip at linssell- 
square; there was a shore come right aloiiL:. 
and a few holes — they was swarmed with 'em 
there — and ilidn't know how it was; but the 
cleverest men in the world couldn't kclclj 
many there, 'cause you see, master, they rnx't 
down the hole into the shore, and uu dog could 
get through a rat -hole. 

*'I couldn't get my livhig, though, at tiiai 
business. If any gentleman corner to nu and 
says ho wants a dog cured, or a few rats d»> 
stroyed, I does it. 

•*in the country they give you fouqience a 
rat, and you c:m kill sometimes as many in a 
farmyard as you cau in London. The most I 
ever got for destroying rats was fom- bob, and 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR, 



then I filled np tlio brickwork and made the 
holes good, and there was no more come. 

** I calls myself a coster ; some calls their- 
selves general dealers, but I doesn't. I goes to 
market, and if one thing don't suit, why I buys 
another. 

" I don't know whether you've heerd of it, 
master, or not, but I'm the man as they say 
kills rats — ^at's to say, I kills 'em like a dog. 
I m almost ashamed to mention it, and I shall 
never do it any more, but I've killed rats for 
a wager often. You see it's only been done 
like for a lark ; we've bin all together daring 
one another, and trying to do something as 
nobody else could. I remember the first time 

I did it for a wager, it was up at , where 

they've got a pit. There was a bull-dog a 
killing rats, so I says, 

" * Oh, that's a duffin' dog ; any dog could 
kill quicker than him. I'd kill again him my- 
self.' 

** Well, then they chaffed me, and I wam't 
goin' to be done ; so I says, 

" * 111 kill again that dog for a soVrin.' 

*' The sov^rin was staked. I wont down to 
kill eight rats again the dog, and I beat hira. 
I killed 'em like a dog, with my teeth. I went 
down hands and knees and bit 'em. I've done 
it three times for a sov'rin, and I've won each 
time. I feels very much ashamed of it, 
though. 

" On the hind part of my neck, as you may 
s?e, sir, there's a scar; that's where I was bit 
bT one; the rat twisted hisself round and 
held on like a vice. It was very bad, sir, for 
ft long time ; it festered, and broke out once 
or t\"nce, but it's all right now." 

Bats. 

" The rat, though small, weak, and contemp- 
tible in its appearance, possesses properties 
that render it a more formidable enemy to 
mankind, and more injurious to the interests 
of society, than even those animals that are 
endued with the greatest strength and the 
most rapacious dispositions. To the one we 
can oppose united powers and superior arts ; 
with regard to the other, experience has con- 
vinc«d us that no art can counteract the 
ei£iicX3 of its amazing fecundity, and that 
force is incfl'ectually directed against an ani- 
mal possessed of such variety of means to 
elude it. 

'* There are two kinds of rats known in this 
country, — the black rat, which was formerly 
universal here, but is now very rarely seen, 
having been almost extirpated by the large 
brown kind, which is generally distinguished 
by the name of the Norway rat» 

" This formidable invader is now xmiversally 
diffused through the whole country, from 
whemee every method has been tried in vain 
to exterminate it. This species is about nine 
inches long, of a light-brown colour, mixed 
with tawnj and ash ; the throat and belly are 



of a dirty white, inclining to grey ; its feet are 
naked, and of a pale flesh-colour ; the taU is 
as long as the body, covered with minute 
dusky scales, thinly interspersed with short 
hairs. In summer it frequents the banks of 
rivers, ponds, and ditches, where it lives on 
frogs, fishes, and small animals. But its rapa- 
city is not entirely confined to these. It de- 
stroys rabbits, poultry, young pigeons, &c. It 
infests the granaiy, the bom, and the store- 
house ; does infinite mischief among com and 
fruit of all kinds ; and not content with satis- 
fjing its hunger, frequently carries off large 
quantities to its hiding-place. It is a bold and 
fierce little animal, and when closely pursued, 
will turn and fasten on its assailant. Its bite 
is keen, and the wound it inflicts is painful 
and difficult to heal, owing to the form of its 
teeth, which are long, sharp, and of an irre- 
gular shape. 

" The rat is amazingly prolific, usually pro- 
ducing from twelve to eighteen young ones at 
one time. Their numbers would soon in- 
cresise beyond all power of restraint, were it 
not for an insatiable appetite, that impels 
them to desti'oy and devour each other. The 
weaker always fall a prey to the stronger; 
and a large male rat, which usually lives by 
itself, is dreaded by those of its own species as 
their most formidable enemy. 

" It is a singular fact in the history of those 
animals, that the skins of such of them as 
have been devoured in their holes have fre- 
quently been found curiously turned insido 
out, every part being completely inverted, 
even to the ends of the toes. How the opera- 
tion is performed it would be difficult to ascer- 
tain ; but it appears to be effected in somo 
peculiar mode of eating out the contents. 

" Besides tlie numbers that perish in these 
unnatural conflicts, they have many fierce and 
inveterate enemies, that take every occasion to 
destroy them. Mankind have contrived vari- 
ous methods of exterininating these bold in- 
truders. For this purpose traps are often 
found ineffectual, such being the sagacity of 
the animals, that when any aro drawn into 
the snare, the others by such means learn to 
avoid the dangerous alliu-ement, notwith- 
standing the utmost caution may have been 
used to conceal the design. The surest me- 
thod of killing them is by poison. Nux vomica 
groimd and mixed with oatmeal, with a small 
proportion of oil of rhodium and musk, have 
been found from experience to be very effec- 
tual. 

" The water-rat is somewhat smaller than 
the Norway rat ; its head larger and its nose 
thicker; its eyes are small; its ears short; 
scarcely appearing through the hair ; its teeth 
are large, strong, and yellow ; the hair on its 
body thicker and longer than that of the com- 
mon rat, and chiefly of a dark brown colour 
mixed with red; the belly is grey; the tail five 
inches long, covered with short black hairs, 
and the tip with white. 



ZOXDOX LABOVR AXD THE LONDON POOR, 



" Tho water -rat gcnorally frequents the 
sides of riverfi, ponds, und diiohes, where it 
burrows and forms its nest. It feeds on frogs, 
small lish and spawn, swiius anil divc5 re- 
markably fast, and can continue c long time 
under water."* 

In Mr. diaries Fothergill's Essay on the 
Philo9oph}f^ Stutly, and Use of Natural History 
(im3),wo find some roflectinns which remind 
us of lUy and Dcrham. Wo shall cxiract a 
few paragraplia whicli relate to the subject in 
hand. 

** Notliing can afTor*! a finr»r illustration of 
the beautiful order and simplicity of the laws 
which govern tho creation, &au tho certainty, 
precision, and regularity with wliioh tho na- 
tural checks in the superabundant increase of 
each tribe of animals arc manngi.'d ; and even- 
family is subject to the operatir>n of checks 
peculiar to the species — whatever it may be — 
and established by a wise law of tho Most 
High, to counteract the fatal ciTocts that might 
arise from an ev(T-active populntive principle. 
It is by the admirable disposition of tlieso 
checks, the contemplation of which is rJone 
Bufflciont to astonish tho loftiest and most 
comprehensive wnUL of man, that tho whole 
system of animal life, in all its various foims, 
is kept in due strengtJi and equilibrium. 

" This subject is worthy of tho naturalist's 
most sorioua consideration.'' 

** This groat law," Mr. F. proceeds, " per- 
vades and affects the wholo nninial creation, 
and so active, unwearied, and rapid is the 
principle of increase over tho means of sub- 
aistenco amongst tho inferior animals, that it 
is evident whole genera of carnivorous beings 
amongst beasts, birds, fish, reptiles, and in- 
sects, havo been created for the express pur- 
pass (?) of suppressing tho redundancy of 
others, and restraining tlicir numbers wiihin 
proper limits. 

** But oven tho natural checks are insuffi- 
cient to restrain the etfects of a too-rapid 
pnpulative principle in some animals which 
have, therefore, certain destructive propensi. 
ties given to them by the Creator, that operate 
powerfidly upon tlicmselves and their off- 
Bpring, as may be particularly observed in the 
natural history of tho rahbUy but which is still 
more evidently and strikingly displayed in the 
life and economy of tlie rat, 

** It has been calculated by 3Ir. Pennant, 
and there can be no doubt of the truth of the 
statement, that the astonishing number of 
1,274,840 may be produced from a single pair 
of rabbits in the short space of four years, as 
these animals in their wild state breed seven 
times in a-year, and generally produce eight 
young ones each time. They are capable of 
procreation at the age of five or six months, 
and the doe carries her burthen no more than 
thirty days. 

" But tho principle of increase is much 

* Bewiok'a H'atory qf Quadntpeds, 1790,$MetKf. 



more powerful, active, and effective in the 
common grey rat than in any other animal of 
equal size. This destructive animal is conti- 
nually under the furor of animal love. Tho 
female carries her young for one month only ; 
and she seldom or never produces a loss num- 
ber than twelve, but sometimes as maiiy as 
eighteen at a litter — the medium number may 
be taken for an average — and tho period of 
gestation, tliough of such short continuance, is 
confined to no particular season of- the yeixr. 

" The embraces of the male are admitted 
immediately after tlie birth of the vindictive 
progeny; and it is a fact which I liuvc as- 
certained beyond any doubt, that tlie female 
suckles her young ones nlmost to the very 
moment when another litter is dropping into 
the world as their successors. 

"A celebrated Yorkshire rat-catcher whrnn I 
have occasionally employed, ono day killed a 
lai-go female rat, that wus in the act of suck- 
ling twelve young ones, which had attained a 
very considerable growth ; nevertheless, upon 
o]vening her swollen boily, he found thijteen 
quick young, tliat were within a few days of 
their birth. Supposing, thcn^fore, that tho 
rat produces ten litters in tho course f»f a 
year, and that no check on their increase 
should operate destructively fur tlio space of 
four years, a number not far sliort of 3,<KM),000 
might \m^ produced from a tiiitjle i>air in that 
time I 

*• Now, the consequence of such an nctivo 
and productive principle of increase, if su:l'rivd 
continually to operate without check, v.oidd 
soon be fatally obvious. Wk have herrd of 
fertile plains devastated, and largo t<»\vii;* un. 
demiinod, in Spain, by rabbits; and even 
that a military force fi-um Jtomo was onco re- 
que^ted of the grc-at Augustus to suppn-s^ the 
astonishing numbers of tlie same auimal over- 
running tlie island of Mii\,iorca and ^liiiorco. 
This circumstance is recorded by I'liiiy. 

"If, therefore, rats were sullcred if) mul- 
tiply without the restndut of the most power- 
ful and positive natural checks, not only would 
fertile plains and rich cities l»c undermined 
and destroyed, but the whole surface of the 
earth in a very few years woubl bo rtoidered a 
barren tad hideous waste, covered with my- 
riads of fkmished grey rats, against which man 
himself would contend in vain. But the same 
Almighty Being who perceived a necessity for 
their existence, has also restricted tlieir num- 
bers within proper bounds, by creating t(» them 
many very poweiftil enemies, and still more 
effectually by establishing a propensity in 
themselves, the gratification of which has con- 
tinually the eifect of lessening their numl»ors, 
oven more than any of their foreign enemies. 

" The male rat has an insatiable thirst for 
the blood of his own offspring; tho female, 
being aware of this passion, hides her young 
in such secret jiliices as 8h») supposes likely to 
escape notice or discovery, till her progf'uy are 
old enough to venture forth and stand upon 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



tlieir own energies ; but, notwitfastunding this 
pn.'caation, the male rat frequently discovers 
tliem, and destroys as many as he can ;. nor is 
the defence of the mother any very efifectiuil 
protection, since she herself sometiiues foils a 
victim to her temerity and her maternal ten- 
derness. 

** Besides this propensity to the destraction 
of thoir own offspring, when other food fails 
them, rats hunt down and prey upon each 
other with the most ferocious and desperate 
ftuditjT. inasmuch as it not un&equently hap- 
pens, in a colouy of these destructive ammals, 
tliat a single male of more Uian ordinxiry 
powei^i, after having overcome and devoured 
all competitors with the exception of a few 
females, reigns the sole bloody and much- 
dreaded tyrant over a considerable territory, 
dwelling by himself in some solitary hole, and 
never appearing abroad without spreading 
terror and dismay even amongst the females 
whose embraces he seeks. In this relentless 
and bloody character may be found one of the 
most powerful and positive of the checks 
which operate to the repression of this species 
within proper bounds ; a character which at- 
taches, in a greater or less degree, to the 
whole Mum genns, and in which we may readily 
perceive the cause of the extirpation of the 
old blMck rats of England, Jdus raihus; for the 
largo grey rats, having superior bodily powers 
united to the same carnivorous propensities, 
would easily conquer and destroy their 
black opponents wherever they could bo 
found, and whenever they mot to dispute the 
title of possession or of sovereignty." 

When the young rats begin to issue from 
their holes, the mother watches, defends, and 
even ilghts with the oats, in order to save 
thezD. A large rat is more mischievous than 
a young cat, and nearly as strong : the rat 
uses her fore-teeth, and the cat makes most 
use of her claws ; so that the latter requires 
both to be vigorous and accustomed to fight, 
in order to destroy her adversaxy. 

The weasel, though smaller, is a much more 
dangerous and formidable enemy to the rat, 
because it can follow it into its retreat. Its 
strength being nearly equal to that of the rat, 
the combat often continues for a long time, 
but the method of using their arms by the 
opponents is very different. The rat wounds 
only by repeated strokes with his fore-teeth, 
which are better formed for gnawing than 
biting ; and, being situated at the extremity of 
the lever or jaw, they have not much force. 
Bat the weasel bites cruelly with the whole 
jaw, and, instead of letting go its hold, sucks 
the blood from the wotmded part, so that the 
rat is always killed. 

A Night at Bat-Kxlliho. 

CoHsiDEBxifa the immense number of rats 
which iiarni an article of commerce with many 
of the lower orders, whose business it is to 



keep them for the purpose of rat matches, I 
thought it necessary, for the fuU elucidation 
of my subject, to visit the well-known public- 
house in London, where, on a certain night in 
the week, a pit is built up, and regulai- rat- 
killing matches take place, and where those 
who have sporting dogs, and are anxious to 
test their qualities, can, after such matches are 
finished, purchase half a dozen or a dozen rats 
for them to practise upon, and judge for them- 
selves of their dogs' " performances." 

To quote the wonls printed on the pro- 
prietor's card, " he is always at his old house 
at home, as usual, to discuss the zakcy 
generally." 

I arrived at about eight o'clock at the tavern 
where the performances were to take place. I 
was too early, but there was plenty to occupy 
my leisure in looking at the curious t^ce.ne 
aroimd me, and taking notes of the habits 
and conversation of the customers who were 
flocking in. 

The front of the long bar was crowded with 
men of every grade of society, all smoking, 
drinking, and talking about dogs. Many of 
them had brought with them Uieir " fancy " 
animals, so that a kind of *' canine exhibition" 
was going on ; some carried under their arm 
small bull-dogs, whose fiat pink noses rubbed 
against my ann as I passed ; others had Skye- 
terriers, curled up like balls of hair, and 
sleeping like children, as they were nuised by 
their owners. Tho only animals that seemed 
awake, and under continual excitement, were 
the little brown English terriers, who, despite 
the neat black leathern collxu^ by which they 
were held, struggled to get loose, as if thoy 
smelt the rats in the room above, and were 
impatient to begin the fray. 

There is a business-like look about this 
tavern which at once lets you into tho cha- 
racter of the person who owns it. Tho drink- 
ing seems to have been a secondary notion in 
its formation, for it is a low-roofed room ^^ith- 
out any of those adornments which are now 
generally considered so necessary to render a 
public-house attractive. The tubs \^ere the 
spirits arc kept are blistered with the heat of 
the gas, and so dirty that the once brilliant gilt 
hoops are now quite black. 

Sleeping on an old hall-chair lay an enor- 
mous white bulldog, ** a great beauty," as X 
was informed, with a head as round and 
smooth as a clenched boxing-glove, and seem- 
ingly too large for the body. Its forehead 
appeared to protrude in a manner significant 
of water on the bram, and almost overhung 
the short nose, through which the animal 
breathed heavily. When this dog, which was 
the admiration of all beholders, rose up, its 
legs were as bowed as a tailor's, leaving a 
peculiar pear-shaped opening between them, 
which, I was informed, was one of its points 
of beauty. It was a white dog, with a sore look, 
fh>m its being peculiarly pixik round the eyes, 
nose, and inde^ at all the edges of its body. 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR, 



On the other side of the fire-place was a 
whito huU-tcrricr dog, with n black patch over 
the eye, whidi gave him rather a disreputable 
look. This animal was watching the move- 
ments of the customers in front, and occa- 
sionally, when the entrance-door was swung 
back, would give a growl of iuquiiy as to what 
the fresh-comer wanted. The proprietor was 
kind enough to inform me, as he patted this 
animal's ribs, wliioh showed like the hoops on 
a butter-firkin, that he considered there hod 
been a " little of the greyhound in some of 
his back generations." 

About the walls were hung clusters of black 
leather collars, adorned with brass rings and 
clasps, and pre-eminent was a silver dog-col- 
lar, which, from the conversation of those 
about me, I learnt was to be the prize in a 
nit-match to be •' killed for" in a fortnight's 
time. 

As the visitors poured in, they, at the re- 
quest of the proprietor *' not to block up the 
baiV* took their seats in the parloiur, and, ac- 
companied by a waiter, who kept shoutinjr, 
•* Give your orders, gentlemen," I entered the 
room. 

I found that, like the bar, no pains had been 
taken to rentier the room attractive to the 
customers, for, with tlie exception of tlie sport- 
ing pictures hung against the dingy paper, it 
was devoid of all adornment Over the fire- 
place were squore glazed boxes, in which were 
the stulled forms of dogs famous in their day. 
1^-cininent among the prints was that repre- 
senting the •♦ Wonder" Tiny, " five pounds and 
a half in weight," as he appeared killing UOO 
rats. ^ This engraving had a singular look, 
from its liaving been printed upon a silk 
liandkerchief. Tiny had been a great fa- 
vourite with the proprietor, and used to wear 
a lady's bracelet as a collar. 

Among the stuffed heads was one of a white 
bull-dog, with tremendous glass eyes sticking 
out, as if it had died of strangidation. Tlic 
proprietor's son was kind chough to explain 
to me the qualities that liad once belonged to 
this favourite. " They've spoilt her in stuffing, 
sir," he said ; **made her so short in the head ; 
but she was the wonder of her day. There 
wasn't a dog in England as would come nigh 
her. Tliere's her daughter," he added, point- 
ing to onotlier head, something like that of a 
seal, *' but she wasn't reckoned half as hand- 
some as her mother, though she was very 
much admired in her time. 

•* That there is a dog," he continued, point- 
ing to one represented with a rat in its mouth, 
" it was as good as any in England, though 
it's so small. I've seen her kill a dozen rats 
almost as big as herself, though they killed 
her at last; for sewer-rats are dreadful for 
giving dogs canker in the mouth, and she 
wore hers^ out with continually killing them, 
though we always rinsed her mouth out well 
with peppermint and water while she were at 
work. When rats bite they we pisonoos, and 



an ulcer is formed, which we are obleeged to 
lance ; that's what killed her." 

The company assembled in ** the parlour" 
consisted of sporting men, or those who, fr«.iii 
curiosity, had come to witness what a i*nt- 
match was like. Seated at the same table, 
talking together, were those dressed in the 
coBtermonger's suit of corduroy, soldiers with 
their uniforms carelessly unbuttoned, coacli- 
men in their liver}*, and tradesmen who liad 
slipped on their evening frock-coats, and nm 
out from the shop to see the sport. 

The dogs belonging to the company were 
standing on the different tables, or tied to the 
legs of the forms, or sleeping in their ownrr.«»' 
arms, and were in turn minutely criticised — 
their limbs being stretched out as if they weio 
being felt for fractures, and their mouths looked 
into, as if a dentist were examining their teeth. 
Nearly all tlie little animals were marked Yfi{\\ 
scars from bites. " Pity to bring him up to 
rat-killing," said one, who had been admiring 
a fierce-looking bull-terrier, olthough he ditl 
not mention at the same time what hno in life 
the little animal ought to pui-sue. 

At another table ono man was declaring' 
that his pet animal was the exact imago of the 
celebrated rat-killing dog " Billy," at the sanu; 
time pointing to the picture against the wall 
of that famous animal, " as he performed his 
wonderful feat of killing &00 rats in five 
minutes and a half." 

There were amongst the >'isitors some 
French gentlemen, who had cridently wit- 
nessed nothing of the kind before ; and whilst 
they endeavomred to drink their hc»t gin and 
water, Uiey made their interpreter translate 
to them the contents of a large placard hung 
upon a hatpeg, and headed — 

" Every Man has nis Fajicy. 

RATTING SPORTS IN REALITY." 

About nine o'clock the proprietor took the 
chair in the parlour, at the same time giving 
the order to " shut up the shutters in the 
room above, and light up the pit." This an- 
nouncement seemed to rouse the spirits of the 
impatient assembly, and oven the dogs tied to 
the legs of the tables ran out to tlie length of 
their leathern thongs, and their tails curled 
like eels, as if they understood the meaning of 
the words. 

." "VMiy, that's the little champion, ' said the 
proprietor, patting a dog with thighs like a 
grasshopper, and whose mouth opened back 
to its ears. " Well, it w a beauty 1 I wish I 
could gammon you to take a 'fiver' for it." 
Then looking round the room, he added, 
''Well, gents, I'm glad to see you look so 
comfortable." 

The performances of the evening were some- 
what hmrried on by the entering of a young 
gentleman, whom the waiters called " Cap'nn." 

♦• Now, Jem, when is this match coming oti?" 
the CapUin asked impatiently; and despite 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON FOOB. 



the assurance that they were getting ready, he 
ihreatened to leave the place if kept waiting 
much longer. This yonng officer seemed to 
lic a great ** fancier** of dogs, for be made the 
Duiid of the room, handling each animal in 
its turn, feeling and squeezing its feet, and 
scrutinising its eyes and limbs with such mf- 
nuteric^s, tliat the French gentlemen were 
forced to inquire who he was. 

There was no announcement that the room 
aboTe was ready, though everybody seemed 
to understand it; for all rose at once, and 
mounting the broad wooden staircase, which 
led to what was once the ^drawing-room,'* 
dropped their abillings into the hand of the 
proprietor, and entered the rat-killing apart- 
ment. 

■^ The pit,** as it is called, consists of a small 
circus, some six feet in diameter. It is about 
as large as a centre flower-bed, and is fitted 
with a high wooden rim that reaches to elbow 
height OTer it the branches of a gas lamp 
are arranged, which Hght up the white painted 
floor, and every part of the little arena. On 
one side of the room is a recess, which the 
proprietor calU his ** private box," and this 
apartment the Captain and hia friend soon 
took possession of, whilst the audience gene- 
rally clambered upon the tables and forms, or 
hung over the sides of the pit itself. 

All the little dogs which the visitors had 
brought up with them were now squalling and 
barlong, and straggling in their masters' arms, 
as if they were thoroughly acquainted with 
the uses of the pit; and when a rusty wire 
cage of rats, filled wUh the dark moving mass, 
was brought forward, the noise of the dogs 
was so great that the proprietor was obliged to 
shout out — ** Now, you that have dogs do 
make *em shut up.** 

The Captain was the first to jump into the 
pit A man wanted to sell him a bull-temer, 
spotted like a fkncy rabbit, and a dozen of 
rats was the consequent order. 

The Captain preferred ptJIing the rata out 
of the cage hiznself, laying hold of them by 
their tails and jerking them into the arena. 
He was cautioned by one of the men not. to 
let them bite him, for '* believe me," were the 
words, •• you'll never forget, Cap'an ; these 'ere 
are none of the cleanest.'' 

Whilst the rats were being counted out, 
some of those that had been taken from the 
cage ran about the painted floor and cHmbed 
up the young officer's legs, making him shake 
them off and exclaim, ** Get out, you varmint ! " 
whilst others of the ugly Ut^e ftwinmU gat 
opon their hind legs, cleaning their fkces with 
their paws. 

When the dog in question was brought 
forth and shown the dozen rats, he grew ex- 
cited, and stretched himself in his owner^s 
mns, whilst an the other animals joined in 
a flill chorus of whining. 

** Chuck him in," said the Crataio, and over 
vent the dog ; and in a second the rats were 



running round the circus, i)r trying to liide 
themselves between the small opouiugs in the 
boards round the pit. 

Although tho proprietor of the dog cudea- 
voured to speak up for it, by declaring **it was 
a good 'un, and a very pretty performer," still 
it was evidently not worth much in a rat -kill- 
ing sense ; and if it had not been for his 
" second," who beat the sides of the pit with 
his hand, and shouted " Hi ! hi 1 at 'em ! " iu 
a most bewildering manner, we doubt if tho 
terrier would not have preferred leaving tho 
rats to themselves, to eigoy their lives. Somo 
of the rats, when the dog advanced towards 
them, sprang up in his face, making him draw 
back with astonishment Others, as he bit 
them, curled round in his mouth and fastened 
on his nose, so that he had to carry them as a 
cat does its kittens. It also required many 
shouts of" Drop it— dead 'un," before ho would 
leave those he had killed. 

We cannot say whether the dog was event- 
ually bought ; but from its owner's exclaiming, 
in a kind of apologetic tone, " Why, he never 
saw a rat belbre m all his life,** wo fancy no 
deahnga took place. 

The Captain seemed anxious to see as much 
sport as ho cotdd, for he frequently asked 
those who carried dogs in their amis whether 
" his Utile 'un would kill," and appeared sorry 
when such answers were given as — " My dog's 
mouth's a little out of order, Cap'an," or ** Tve 
only tried him at very small 'uns." 

One little dog was put in the pit to amuse 
himself with the dead bodies, tie seized hold 
of one almost as big as himself, shook it 
furiously till the head thumped the floor like 
a drumstick, making those around shout with 
laughter, and causmg one man to exclaim, 
*' He's a good 'un at shaking heads and tails, 
ain't he?" 

Preparations now began for the grand mateh 
of the evening, in which fifty rats were to be 
killed. The ** dead 'uns'' were gathered up by 
their taUs and flung into the comer. The 
floor was swept, and a big flat basket produced, 
like those in which chickens are brought to 
market, and under whose iron wire top could 
be seen small mounds of closely packed rats. 

This match seemed to be between the pro- 
prietor and his son, and the slake to be gained 
was only a bottle of Lemonade, of which the 
father stipulated he should have first drink. 

It was strange to observe the daring manner 
in which the lad introduced his hand into the 
rat cage, sometimes keeping it there for more 
than a minute at a time, as he fumbled about 
and stirred up wiUi his fingers the living mass, 
picking out, aa he had been requested, " only 
the big 'uns." 

When the fifty animals had been flung into 
the pit, they gathered themselves together into 
a mound which reached one-third up the sides, 
and wliich reminded one of the heap of hair- 
sweepings in a barber's shop after a heavy 
day's cutting. These were all sewer and water- 



8 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



ditch rats, and the smell that rose from them 
was like that from a hot drain. 

The Captain amused himself hy flicking at 
them with his pocket handkerchief, and offer- 
ing them the lighted end of his cigar, which 
tlio little creatures tamely snuffed at, and drew 
back from, as they singed their noses. 

It was also a favourite amusement to blow on 
the mound of rats, for they seemed to dislike 
the cold wind, which sent them fluttering 
about like so many feathers; indeed, whilst 
the match was going on, whenever the little 
animals collected together, and formed a barri- 
cade as it were to the dog, ^e cry of ** Blow on 
fem ! blow on 'cm ! " was given by the spectators, 
and the dog's second puffed at them as if ex- 
tinguishing a fire, when they would dait off 
like so many sparks. 

The company was kept waiting so long for 
the matx'h to begin that the impatient Captain 
again threatened to leave the house, and was 
only quieted by the proprietor's reply of " My 
dear friend, be easy, the boy's on Uie stairs 
\\ith the dog;" and true enough we shortly 
heard a wheezing and a screaming in the pass- 
age witliout, as iif some strong-winded ammal 
were being strangled, and presently a boy 
entered, carrj-ing in his arms a bull-terrier in 
a perfect fit of excitement, foaming at the 
mouth and stretching its neck forward, so that 
the collar which held it back seemed to be 
cutting its tliroat in two. 

The animal was nearly mad witli rage — 
scratching and struggling to get loose. ** Lay 
hold a little closer up to the head or hell turn 
round and nip yer," said the proprietor to his 
son. 

Whilst the gasping dog was fastened up in a 
comer to writhe its impatience away, the land- 
lord made inquiries for a stop-watch, and also 
for an umpire to decide, as he added, *' whether 
the rats were dead or alive when they're 
• killed,' as Paddy says." 

When all the arrangements had been made 
the " second" and the dog jumped into the 
pit, and after *' lotting him see 'em a bit," 
the terrier was let loose. 

The moment the dog was ** free," he be- 
came quiet in a most business-like manner, 
and rushed at the rats, burying his nose in 
the mound till he brought out one in his 
mouth. In a short time a dozen rats with 
wetted necks were lying bleeding on the floor, 
and the white paint of the pit became grained 
with blood. 

In a little time the terrier had a rat hang- 
ing to his nose, which, despite his tossing, 
still held on. He dashed np against the 
sides, leaving a patch of blood as if a straw- 
berry had been smashed there. 

"He doesn't squeal, that's one good thing," 
said one of the lookers-on. 

As the rats fell on their sides after a bite 
they were collected together in the centre, 
where they lay quivering in their death- 
gasps 1 



''Hi, Butcher I hi. Butcher!" shouted the 
second, '* ^^ood dog ! bur-r-r-r-r-h ! " and he 
beat the sides of the pit like a drum till tlie 
dog flew about with new life. 

"Dead 'unl drop it I" he cried, when the 
teirier " nosed** a rat kicking on its side, as it 
slowly expired of its broken neck. 

" Time!'* said the proprietor, when four of 
the eight minutes had expired, and the dog 
was caught up and held panting, his neck 
stretched out like a seix>ent's, staring intently 
at the rats which stall kept crawling about. 

The poor little wretches in this brief interval, 
as if forgetting their danger, a^ain commenced 
cleaning themselves, some nibbling the ends 
of their tails, others hopping about, going now 
to the legs of the lad in the pit, and sniffing 
at his trousers, or, strange to say, advancing, 
smelling, to within a few paces of their enemy 
the dog. 

The dog lost the match, and the proprietor, 
we presume, honourably paid the bottle of 
lemonade to his son. But he was evidently 
displeased with the dog's behaviour, for he 
said, " He won't do for me — he's not one of 
my sort! Here, Jim, tell Mr. O. he may 
have him if he likes; I won't give him house 
room." 

A plentiful shower of halfpence was thrown 
into the pit as a reward for the second who 
had backed the dog. 

A slight pause now took place in the pro- 
ceedings, during which the landlord requested 
that the gentlemen *' would give their minds 
up to drinking ; you know the love I have for 
you," he added jocularly, " and that I don't 
care for any of you ; " whilst the waiter ac- 
companied the invitation with a cry of <^ Give 
your orders, gentlemen," and the lad with the 
rats asked if ** any other gentleman would 
like any rats." 

Several other dogs were tried, and amongst 
them one who, from the size of his stomach, 
had evidently been accustomed to large din- 
ners, and looked upon rat-killing as a sport 
and not as a business. The appearance of 
this fat animal was greeted with remarks such 
as " Why don't you feed your dog ?" and " You 
shouldn't give him more than Ave meals a- 
day." 

Another impatient bull-terrier was thrown 
into the midst of a dozen rats. He did his 
duty so well, tliat the admiration of the spec- 
tators was focussed upon him. 

" Ah," said one, " he'd do better at a him- 
dred than twelve;" whilst another obsen-ed, 
" Rat-killing's his game, I can see ; " while the 
landlord himself said, ** He's a very pretty 
creetur*, and I'd back him to Idll against any- 
body's dog at eight and a half or nine.'' 

The Captain was so startled with this ter- 
rier's " cleverness," that he vowed that if she 
could kill fifteen in a minute " he'd give a 
hundred guineas for her."' 

It was nearly twelve o'clock before the even- 
ing's performance concliided« Several of the 



LONDON LABOUR AND TBE LONDON POOR. 



9 



ipecUtors tried their dogs npon two or three 
nts, either the biggest or the smallest that 
coidd be found : and many offers as to what 
** he wanted for the dog," and many inquiries 
as to " who was its fkther," were made before 
the company broke up. 

At last the landlord, finding that no " gen- 
tleman would like a few rats," and that his 
exhortations to *' giye their minds up to 
drmking" produced no further effect upon the 
company, spoke the epilogue of the rat tra- 
gedies in these words; — 

^ Gentlemen, I give a very handsome solid 
silver collar to be killed for next Tuesday. 
»)pen to all the world, only they must be 
nMTice dogs, or at least such as is not con. 
ddered j^A^^ nomenons. We shall have plenty 
of sport, gentlemen, and there will be loadjs 
of rat'ldlUng. I hope to see all my kind 
friends, not forgetting your dogs, likewise; 
and may they be like the Irishman all oyer, 
vho had good trouble to catch and kill 'em, 
and took good care they didnt come to life 
again. Gentlemen, there is a good parlour 
down-stairs, where we meets for harmony and 
entertainment.'' 

JiMMT Shaw. 

The proprietor of one of the largest sporting 
public-houses in London, who is celebrated 
for the rat-matches which come off weekly 
at his establishment, was kind enough to fa- 
vour me with a few details as to the ^uali^ 
of those animals which are destroyed m his 
pit His statement was certainly one of the 
most curious that I have listened to, and it 
was given to me with a readiness and a courtesy 
of manner such as I have not often met with 
during mj researches. The landlord himself 
is known in pugilistic circles as one of the 
most skilful boxers among what is termed the 
" light weights.' 

nis statement is curious, as a proof of the 
Urge trade which is carried on in these ani- 
mals, for it would seem that the men who 
make a business of catching rats are not al- 
ways employed as ** exterminators," for they 
make a good living aa ** purveyors" for supply- 
ing the demands of the sporting portion of 
London. 

*♦ The poor people," said the sporting land- 
lord, *' who supply me with rats, are what yon 
may call barn-door labouring poor, for tbey 
are the most ignorant people I ever come near. 
Really you would not believe people could live 
iu such ignorance. Talk about Latin and 
Greek, sir, why English is Latin to them— 
in fact, I have a difficult to understand them 
myself. When the harvest is got in, they go 
hunting the hedges and ditches for rats. 
Once l£e farmers had to pay 2d. a-head for 
all rats caught on their grounds, and they 
nailed them op against the walL But now that 
the rat-ketchers can get 3if. each by bringing 
the vermin np to town, the farmers don't pay 



them anything for what they ketch, but merely 
give them permission to hunt them in their 
stacks and bams, so that they*no longer get 
their 2d, in the cotmtiy, though they get their 
3<2. in town. 

"I have some twenty families depending 
upon me. From Glavering, in Essex, I suppose 
I have hundreds of thousands of rats sent to 
me in wire cages fitted into baskets. From 
Enfield I have a great, quantity, but the 
ketchers don't get them all there, but travel 
round the country for scores of miles, for you 
see d</. a-head is money; besides, there are 
some hberal farmers who will still give them 
a halQ)cnny a-head into the bargain. Enfield 
is a kmd of head-quarters for rat-ketchers. 

" It's dangerous work, though, for you see 
there is a wonderftd deal of difference in the 
specie of rats. The bite of sewer or water- 
ditch rats is veiy bad. The water and ditch 
rat lives on filth, but your bam-rat is a plump 
fellow, and he lives on the best of eveiything. 
He's well off. There's as much difference 
between the bam and sewer-rats as between a 
brewer's horse and a costermonger's. Sewer- 
rats are veiy bad for dogs, their coats is poi- 
sonous. 

*< Some of the rats that are brought to me 
are caught in the warehouses in the City. 
Wherever there is anything in the shape of 
provisions, there you are sure to find Mr. Rat 
an intruder. The ketchers are paid for ketch- 
ing them in the warehouses, and then they are 
sold to me as well, so the men must make a 
good thing of it. Many of the more courageous 
kind of warehousemen will take a pleasure in 
hunting the rats themselves. 

" I should think I buy in the course of the 
year, on the average, from 300 to 700 rats 
a- week." (Taking 000 as the weekly average, 
this gives a yearly purchase of 26,000 live rats.) 
" That's what I kill taking all the year roundi, 
you see. Some first-class chaps will come 
here in the day-time, and they'll try their dogs. 
They'll say, * Jimmy, give the dog 100.' After 
he's polished them off they'll say, perhaps, 
* Hang it, give him another 100.' Bless you ! " 
he added, in a kind of whisper, " Tve had noble 
ladies and titled ladies come here to see the 
sport— on the quiet, you know. When my wife 
was here they would come regular, but now 
she's away they don't come so often. 

" The largest quantity of rats Pve bought 
from one man was five guineas' worth, or 
thirty-five dozen at 3^. a-head, and that's a load 
for a horse. This man comes up fh>m Glaver- 
ing in akind of cart, with a horse that's a regular 
phenomena, for it ain't like a beast nor nothing. 
I pays him a good deal of money at times, and 
I'm sure I can't tell what he does with it ; but 
they do tell me that he deals in old iron, and 
goes buying it up, though he don't seem to 
have much of a head-piece for that sort of 
fancy neither. 

*' During the harvest-time the rats run 
scarcer you see, and the ketcher turns up rat* 



10 



LOm>OI9 LABOUR AND THE LONDOS POOR, 



keiehing for harresi work. After the harvest 
rata gets plentiful again. 

** I've had as many as 2000 rats in tliis very 
honse at one time. Theyll consome a sack of 
barley-ineal a week, and the brutes, if yon 
don't give 'em good stufi^ they'll eat one another, 
hang 'em ! 

*' I'm the oldest canine fancier in London, 
and I'm the first that started ratting ; in fact, 
I know I'm the oldest caterer in rat-killing in 
the metropolis. I began as a lad,«nd I had many 
noble friends, and was as good a man then as 
I am now. In fact, when I was seventeen or 
eighteen years of age I was just like what my 
boy is now. I used at that time to be a great 
public charakter, and had many liberal fnends 
— ^very liberal friends. I used to give them 
rat sports, and I have kept to it ever since. 
My boy can handle rats now just as I used to 
then. 

" Have I been bit by them f Aye, hundreds 
of times. Now, some people will say, *ltub 
yourself over with caraway and stuff, aiid 
then rats won't bite you.' But I give you my 
word and honour it's all nonsense, sir. 

** As I said, I was the first in London to give 
rat sports, and I've kept to it ever since. Bless 
you, there's nothing tliat a rat won't bito 
through. I've seen my lads standing in the pit 
with the rats running about them, and if they 
haven't taken the precaution to tie their 
trousers round with a bit of string at the hot- 
tom, they'd have as many as five or six rati 
run up their trouser-legs. They'll deliberately 
take off their clothes and pick them out from 
thtir shirts, and bosoms, and lureeohes. Some 
people is amused, and others is horror-struck. 
People have asked them whether they ain't 
rubbed? They'll say * Yes,' but that's as a 
lark; 'cos, sometimes when my boy has been 
taking the rats out of the cage, and somebody 
has taken his attention o£t^ talking to him, he 
has had a bite, and will turn to me with his 
finger bleeding, and say, ^Yes, I'm rubbed, 
ain't I, father? look here !' 

**A rat's bite is very singular, it's a three- 
cornered one, Uke a leech's, only deeper, of 
course, and it will bleed for ever such a time. 
My boys have sometimes had their fingers go 
dreadfully bad from rat-bites, so that they turn 
all black and putrid like— .aye, as black as the 
horsc-hoir covering to my sofa. People have 
said to me, * Y'ou ought to send the lad to the 
hospital, and have his finger took off;' but 
Tve always left it to the lads, and they've said, 
* Oh, don't mind it^ father ; it'll get all right by 
and by.' And so it has. 

(« The best thing I ever found for a rat-bite 
was the thick bottoms of porter casks put on as 
a poultice. The only thing yon can do is to 
poultice, and these porter bottoms is so power- 
ful and draws so, that they'll actually take 
thorns out of horses' hoo& and f^eet alter 
steeplechosing. 

*' In handling rats, it's nothing more in the 
world but nerve that does it I should faint 



now if a rat was to run up my breeches, but I 
have known tlie time when I've been kivured 
with 'em. 

** I generally throw m^ dead rats away now ; 
but two or three years smce my boys took the 
idea of skinning them into their headin, and 
they did about 800 of them, and their skins 
was very promising. The boys was, after all, 
obliged to give th^ away to a furrier, for my 
wife didn't like the notion, and I said, * Throw 
them away;' but the idea strikes me t<i be 
something, and one tliat is lost sight of, f<.>r 
the skins are warm and handsome-looking — a 
beautiful grey. 

*' There's nothing turns so quickly as dead 
rats, so I am obleeged to have my duisimen 
come round every Wednesday morning ; and 
regularly enough they coll too, for they know 
where there is a bob and a pot. I generally 
prefers using the authorised dustmen. Uiongh 
the others come sometimes — the filing dust- 
men they call 'em— and if they're first, they has 
the job. 

" It strikes me, though, that to throw awcy 
■o many valiuble skins is a good thing lost 
sight of. 

" The rats want a deal of watching, and a 
deal of sorting. Now you can't put a sowor niul 
a barn-rat together, it's like putting a Koos^liion 
and a Turk under the some roof. 

^ I can tell a bani-rat from a ship-rat or a, 
sewer-rat in a minute, and I have to look over 
my stock when they come in, or they'd ti(;ht to 
the death. Thcro's six or seven ditl'c-rent 
kinds of rats, and if we don't sort 'em tliey tear 
one another to pieces. I think when I liave a 
number of rats in the house, that I am a lucky 
man if I don't find a dozen dead when I go up 
to them in the morning ; and when I tell you 
that at times — when I've wanted to make up 
my number for a match — I've given iil». for 
twenty rats, you may think I lose something 
that way every year. Rats, even now, is occa- 
sionally Of. o-dozen ; but that, I think, is most 
inconsistent. 

" If I had my will, I wouldn't allow sewer 
rattmg, for the rats in the shores eats up a 
great quantity of sewer filth and rubbish, and 
is another specie of scavenger in their own 
way." 

After finishing his statement, the landlord 
showed me some vexr curious specimens of 
tame rats — some piebald, and others quite 
white, with pink eyes, which he kept in cages 
in his sitting-room. He took them out fr^m 
their cages, and handled them without the 
least fear, and even handled them rather 
rudely, as he showedlne the peculiariUes of 
their colours ; yet the little tame creatures did 
not once attempt to bite him. Indeed, they 
appeared to have lost the notion of regaining 
their liberty, sod when near their cages 
struggled to return to their nests. 

In one of these boxes a black and a white 
rat were confined together, and the proprietor, 
pointing to them, remarked, ** I hope theyll 



LONDON LABOUR AND THS LONDON POOR. 



11 



teeed, for thongh white rats is Tety searce, 
only oennring in fact bj a ft^ak of nature, I 
fiBkcj I shall be able, with time and trouble, 
to bned 'em myself. The old English rat 
is a tnuall jet-black rat ; but the first white rat 
SI I heard of come oat of a bmial-gronnd. At 
(Be time I bred rots very largely, but now I 
leares that fancy to my boys, for I'Te as mnch 
as I can do ccmtlnning to serre my worthy 
patroDa.*^ 

Jack Black. 

As I wished to obtain the best information 
aboat rat and vermin destroying, I thought I 
ecmld not do better now than- i^ly to that 
eniocnt anthority *'the Queen's ratcatcher," 
sod accordingly I sought an interview with 
Mr. " Jack " Black, whose hand - bills are 
headed—** V.B. Bat and mole destroyer to 
Her Migesty/' 

I had already had a statement from the 
ropj bug-destroyer relative to the habits and 
means of exterminating those offensive vermin, 
and I was desirous of pairing it with an account 
of the personal experience of the Queen of 
Eoglttkd's ratcatcher. 

In the sporting world, and among his regular 
cQstomen, the Queen's ratcatcher is better 
known by the name of Jack Black. He enjoys 
the reputation of being the most feaiiess 
handler of rats of any man livmg, playing with 
them—as one man expressed it to me^^* as if 
they were so many blind Idttens." 

The flzst time I ever saw Mr. Black was in 
the streets of London, at the comer of Hart- 
street, where he wai exhibiting the rapid effects 
of his rat poascnr, by plsdng some of it in the 
mouth of a living animal. He had a cart then 
with juts painted on the panels, and at the 
tailboard, where he stood lecturing, he had a 
kind of stage rigged up, on which were cages 
filled with rats, ud pills, and poison packages. 

Here I saw him dip his hand into this cage 
of rats and take out as many as he could hold, 
a feat which generally caused on "oh!" of 
wonder to escape firom the crowd, especially 
when they observed that his hands were un- 
bitten. Women more particulariy shuddered 
whoa they beheld him place some half-dozen 
of the dosty-looking brutes within his shirt next 
Uialdn; and men swore the animals had been 
tamed, as be let them run up his aims like 
•qnirels, and the people gathered round 
beheld them sitting on his shoulders cleaning 
their iSaces with thor fhmt-paws, or rising up 
en their bind legs like little kangaroos, and 
Hoffioy about bis ean and cheeks. 

But those who knew Ifr. Black better, were 
vali aware that the animals he took up in his 
hmd were ns wild as any of the rats in the 
Kvers of Loodon, and that the only mystery 
is the exhibition was that of a man having 
eoBrsge enon^b to undertake the work. 

I tflerwards visited Jaek Black at his house 
ii Bsttenea. I had some diflleulty in dis- 



covering his country residence, and was indebted 
to a group of children gathered round and 
staring at the bird-cage in the window of his 
cottage for his address. Their exclamations 
of delight at a grey parrot climbing with his 
beak and claws about the zinc wires of his cage, 
and the hopping of the little linnets there, in 
the square lx>xes scarcely bigger than a brick, 
made me glance up at the door to discover who 
the bird-fancier was ; when painted on a bit of 
zinc^ust large enough to fit the shaft of a 
tax cart — I saw the words, ** J. Black, Rat De- 
stroyer to Her Miyesty," surmounted by the 
roy^ initials, V.B., together with the painting 
of a white rat 

Mr. Black was out " sparrer ketching,** as 
his wife informed me, for he had an order for 
three dozen, '* which was to be shot in a match " 
at some tea-gardens close by. 

>Vhen I called again Mr. Black had re- 
turned, and I found him kneeling before a big, 
rusty iron- wire cage, as large as a soa- chest, 
and transferring the sparrows fh>m his bird- 
catching apparatus to the more roomy prison. 

He transacted a little business before I spoke 
to him, for the boys about the door were ask- 
ing, ** Can I have one for a penny, master?" 

There is evidently a great art in handling 
birds; for when Mr. Black held one, he took 
hold of it by the T^ing^ ond tail, so that the 
little creature seemed to be sitting ujjright 
and had not a feather rumpled, while it 
stretched out its neck and looked around it ; 
the boys, on the contrary, first made them 
flutter their feathers as rough as a hair brill, 
and then half smothered them between tlieir 
two hands, by holding them as if tliey wished 
to keep tliem hot. 

I was soon at home with Mr. Black. He 
was a Tciy different man from what 1 had ex. 
pected to meet, for there was an exprosbion of 
kindhness in his countenance, a quality which 
does not exactly ngrcc with one's preconcoived 
notions of ratcatchers. His face had a strange 
appearance, firom his rough, uncombed liair, be- 
ing nearly grey, and his eyebrows and whiskers 
black, so that he looked as if he wore powder. 

Mr. Black informed me that the big iron- 
wire cage, in wbich the sparrows were flutter- 
ing about, had been constructed by him for rats, 
and that it held over a thousand when full — 
for rats are packed like cups, he said, one over 
the other. ** But," he added, " business is bad 
for rats, and it makes a splendid haver}' ; be- 
sides, sparrers is tho rats of birds, sir, for if 
you look at 'em in a cage they always huddles 
up in a comer Uke rats in a pit, and they ore 
a'most vermin in colour and habits, and eats 
anything." 

The ratcatchei^ pariour was more like a 
shop than a family apartment In a box, with 
iron bars before it, like a rabbit-hutch, was a 
white ferret, twistmg its long thin body with a 
sniLke-like motion up and down the length of 
its prison, as restlessly as if it were arainiaturs 
polar bear. 



12 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



When Mr. Black called **PoUy " to Uie ferret, 
it came to the bars and fixed its pink eyes on 
him. A child lying on the floor poked its 
fingers into the cage, hut Polly only smelt at 
them, and, finding them not good to cat, went 
away. 

Mr. Black stufiti animals and birds, and 
also catches fish for viTaria. Against the walls 
were tlic furred and feathered remains of de- 
parted favourites, each in its glazed box and 
appropriate altitude. There was a famous 
polecat — "a first-rater at rats" we were in- 
formed. Here a ferret " that never was 
eqiudled." This canary '* had earned pounds." 
That linnet " was the wonder of its day." The 
enormous pot-bellied carp, with the miniature 
ruslics painted at the back of its case, was 
caught in the Kegenfs Park waters. 

** In another port of the room hang fishing- 
lines, and u badger's skin, and lead-bobs and 
curious eel-hooks — the latter as big as the 
curls on the temples of a Spanish dancer, and 
from hero Mr. Black took down a transparent, 
looking fish, like a shp of parchment, and told 
me that it was a frcsh-water smelt, and that 
he caught it in the Thames — "the first he 
ever heard of." Then he showed me a beetle 
suspended to a piece of thread, like a big 
npider to its web, and this he informed me 
^vas the Thames beetle, ** which either live by 
land or water." 

"You ketcli 'em," continued Mr. Black, 
*' when they are swimming on their backs, 
wliich is their nature, and wlien they turns 
over you finds 'em beautifully crossed and 
marked." 

liound the room were himg paper bags, like 
tliose in which housewives keep their sweet 
lierbs. " All of them there, sir, contain cured 
fish for eating," Mr. Black explained to me. 

*' I'm called down here the Battersea otter," 
he went on, *' fur I can go out at four in the 
morning, and come home by eight with a 
barrowful of freshwater fish. Nobody knows 
liow I do it, because I never takes no nets or 
lines with me. I assure them I ketcli 'em 
with my hands, which I do, but they only 
laughs incredorlous like. I knows the fishes' 
hamts, and watches the tides. I sells fresh 
fish — perch, roach, dace, gudgeon, and such- 
like, and oven small jack, at threepence a 
pound, or what they'll fetch ; and I've caught 
near the Wandsworth * Black Sea,' as we 
calls it, half a hundred weight sometimes, 
and I never took less than my handkerchoy 
full." 

I was inclined — like the inhabitants of 
Battersea — to be incredulous of the rat- 
catcher's hand-fishing, until, under a promise 
of secrecy, he confided his process to me, and 
then not only was I perfectly con>-inced of its 
truth, but startled that so simple a method 
had never before been taken advantage of. 

Later in the day Mr. Black became very 
oommunicative. We sat chatting together in 
his sanded bird shop, and he told me all his 



misfortunes, and how bad luck had pressed 
upon him, and driven him out of London. 

" I was fool enough to take a pnblic-house 
in Begent-street, sir," he said. *' My daughter 
used to dress as the ' Ratketcher's Daughter,* 
and serve behind the bar, and tliat did pretty 
well for a time ; but it was a brewei-'s house^ 
and they ruined me." 

The costume of the " ratketcher's daughter" 
was shown to me by her mother. It was a 
red velvet bodice, embroidered with silver 
lace. 

"With a muslin skirt, and her hair down 
her back, she looked wery genteel," added the 
parent 

Mr. Black's chief complaint was that he 
could not " make an appearance," for his 
"uniform" — a beautiful green coat and red 
waistcoat — wore pledged." 

^Vlulst giving me his statement, Mr. Black, 
in proof of his assertions of the biting powers 
of rats, drew my attention to the leathern 
breeches he wore, " as were given him twelve 
years ago by Captain B ." 

These were pierced in some places with the 
teeth of the animals, and in others were 
scratched and fringed like the washleather of 
a street knife -seller. 

His hands, too, and even his face, had scars 
upon them from bites. 

Mr. Black informed me that ho had given 
up tobacco "since a haccident he met with from 
a pipe. I was smoking a pipe," he said, " and 
a friend of mine by chance jobbed it into my 
mouth, and it went right through to the back 
of ray palate, and I nearly died." 

Here his wife added, " There's a hole there 
to this day you could put your thimib into; 
you never saw such a mouth." 

^Ir. Black informed me in secret that he 
had often, "unbeknown to his wife," tasted 
what cooked rats were like, and he asserted 
that they were as moist as rabbits, and quite as 
nice. 

"If they are shewer-rats," he continued, 
" just chase them for two or three days before 
you kill them, and they are as good as barn- 
rats, I give you my word, sir." 

Mr. Black's statement was as follows : — 

" I should think I've been at ratting a'most 
for five-and-thirty year; indeed, I may say 
from my childhood, for I've kept at it a'most 
all my life. Pve been dead near three times 
from bites — as near as a toucher. I once had 
the teeth of a rat brei^ in my finger, which 
was dreadful bad, and swole, and putrifled, bo 
that I had to have the broken bits pulled out 
with tweezers. When the bite is a bad one, 
it festers and forms a hard core in the ulcer, 
which is very painftil, and throbs very much 
indeed ; and after that core comes away, un- 
less you cleans 'em out well, the sores, even 
after they seemed to be healed, break out over 
and over again, and never cure perfectly. 
This core is as big as a boiled fish's eye, and 
as hard as a Btooe. I generally cuts the bite 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



10 



at dean witb a lancet, and squcege the liu- 
lour well from it, and that's the only way to 
ire it thorough — as you see my hands is all 
>\'ei«d with scars from bites. 
"The worst bite I eyer had was at the 
lanor House. Homsey, kept by Mr. Bumell. 
rne day when I was there, he had some rats 
et looso, and he asked me to ketch 'em for 
lim. as they was wanted for a match tliat was 
uming on that afternoon. I had picked up 
. lot — indeed, I had one in each hand, and 
nother again my knee, when I happened to 
nme to a sheaf of straw, which I turned over, 
jid there was a rat there. I couldn't lay hold 
in him 'cause my hands was full, and as I 
looped down he ran up the sleeve of my coat, 
iDd bit me on the muscle of the arm. I shall 
lever forget it. It turned me all of a sudden, 
md made me feel numb. In less than half- 
in-hour I was took so bad I was obleeged tb 
be sent home, and I had to get some one to 
Jrive my cart for me. It> was terrible to see 
the blood that came from me — I bled awfuL 
Bomell seeing me go so queer, says, ' Here, 
Jack, take some brandy, you look so awful 
bad.' The arm swole, and went as heavy as a 
ton weight pretty well, so that I couldn't even 
lift it, and so painful I couldn't bear my wife 
to fennent it. I was kept in bed for two 
months through that bite at Bumell's. I was 
BO weak I couldn't stand, and I was dreadful 
feverisb— all warmth like. I knew I was going 
to die, 'cause I remember the doctor coming 
md opemng my eyes, to see if I was still 
alive. 

*• I've been bitten nearly everywhere, even 
vhere I can't name to you, sir, and right 
through mj thumb naiJ too, which, as you see, 
always has a split in it, though it's years since 
[ waa wounded. I suffered as much from that 
bite on my thumb as anything. It went right 
ap to my ear. I felt the pain in both places 
St once — a regular twinge, like touching the 
nerve of a tooth. The thumb went black, and 
I was told I ought to have it off; but I knew 
a young chap at the Middlesex Hospital who 
VMnt out of his time, and he said, ' No, I 
vooldn't. Jack;' and no more I did ; and he 
used to strap it up for me. But the worst of 
it was, I had a job at Camden Town one afber- 
Qoon after he had dressed the wound, and I 
^t another bite lower down on the same 
Lhnmb, and that flung me down on my bed, 
md there I stopped, I should think, six 
M'-eeks. 

" I was bit bad, too, in Edwards-street, 
Hampst^ad-road ; and that time I was sick 
lear three months, and close upon dying. 
Rrhether it was the poison of the bite, or the 
medicine the doctor give me, I can't say ; but 
ha flesh seemed to swell up like a bladder — 
negular blowed like. After idl, I think I cured 
nyaelf by cheating the doctor, as they calls it ; 
br instead of tjUdng the medicine, I used to go 

o Hr. 's house in Albany-street (the pub- 

ican), and he'd say, 'What'llyer have, Jack?' 



and I used to take a glass of stout, and that 
seemed to give me strength to overcome the 
pison of the bite, for I began to pick up as 
soon as I left off doctor's stutH 

" When a rat's bite touches the bone, it 
mokes you faint in a minute, and it bleeds 
dreadful — ah, most terrible — just as if you 
had been stuck with a penknife. You couldn't 
believe the quantity of blood that come away, 
sir. 

** The fii-st rats I caught was when I was 
about nine years of age. I ketched them at 
Mr. Strickland's, a large cow-keeper, in Little 
Albany-street, Kogent's-park. At that time it 
was all Aelds and meaders in them parts, and 
I recollect there was a big orchard on one 
side of the sheds. 1 was only doing it fur a 
game, and tliere was lots of ladies and gents 
looking on, and wondering at seeing mo 
taking the rats out from under a heap of old 
bricks and wood, where they had collecte«l 
theirselves. I had a little dog — a little red 
'un it was, who was well known through the 
fancy — and I wanted the rats for to test my 
dog with, I being a lad what was fond of the 
spoi-t. 

*• I wasn't afraid to handle rats even then ; 
it seemed to come nat'ral to me. I verj' soon 
had some in my pocket, and some in my 
hands, carrring them away us fast as I could, 
and putting them into my wire cage. You see, 
the rats began to run as soon as we shifted 
them bricks, and I had to scramble for them. 
Many of them bit me, and, to tell you the 
truth, I didn't know the bites were so many, 
or I dare say I shouldn't have been so ven- 
turesome OS I was. 

•* After that I bought some foiTuts — four of 
them — of a man of the name of Butler, what 
was in the rat-ketching hne, and afterwards 
went out to Jomaicer, to kill rats there. I was 
getting on to ten years of age then, and I was, 
I think, the first that regularly began hunting 
rats to storminate them ; for all those before 
me used to do it with drugs, and perhaps 
never handled rats in tlieir lives. 

" With my ferruts I at first used to go out 
hunting rats round by the ponds in Begent's- 
park, and the ditches, and in the cow-sheds 
roundabout. People never paid me for ketch- 
ing, though, maybe, if they was very much 
infested, they might give me a trifle; but I 
used to make my money by selling the rats to 
gents as was fond of sport, and wanted them 
for their little dogs. 

" I kept to this till I was thirteen or four- 
teen year of age, always using the ferruts; 
and I bred from them, too, — indeed, I've still 
got the * strain' (breed) of them same ferruts 
by me now. I've sold them ferruts about 
everywhere; to Jim Buni I've sold some of 
the strain; and to Mr. Anderson, the pro- 
vision-merchant ; and to a man that went to 
Irelind. Indeed, that strain of ferruts has 
gone nearly all over the world. 

" I never lost a ferrut out ratting. I al- 



14 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



M 



ways let them loose, and put a bell on mine- 
arranged in a peculiar manner, which is a 
Kecret — ond I then puts him into the main 
run of the rata, and lets him go to work. 
]iut tlipj- must be femits tliafs well trained 
fur working dwellings, or you'll lose tliem as 
Hafe as death. Pve had 'em go away two 
houses olT, and oome back to mc. My femits 
is very tame, and so well trained, that I'd put 
them into a house and guarantee that they'd 
come hack to me. In Grosvenor-strect I was 
clearing once, and the femits went next door, 
niid nearly cleared the house — which is the 

lionourable Mrs. F 's — before they came 

hack to me. 

" 1- omits are very dangerous to handle if not 
well trained. They are very savage, and will 
attack a man or a child as well as a rat. It 
was well known at Mr. Hamilton's at Ilamp- 
stead — it's years ago this is — there was a 
ferrut that got loose what killed a child, and 
was found sucking it The bite of 'em is ver}- 
dangerous — not so pisonous as a rat's — but 
very painful; and when the little tilings is 
hungry they'll attack anythink. I've seen two 
of them kill a cat, and then they'll suck the 
blood till tliey fills theirsclvcs, after which 
they'll fall oflf like leeches. 

"The weasel and the stoat arc, I think, 
more dangerous than the ferrut in their bite. 
I had a stoat once, which I caught when out 
ratting at Ilampstoad for Mr. Cunningham, 
tho butcher, and it hit one of my dogs — 
Black Bess by name, the truest bitch in the 
world, sir — in tho mouth, and she died three 
days arterwards at the Boll at Kilbiun. I 

was along with Coptain K , who'd come 

(•ut to see the sport, and whilst we were al 
dinner, and the poor bitch Ijing under my 
chair, my boy says, f?ays he, * Father, Black 
Bess is d^-ing;' and had scarce spoke the 
speech when she wns dead. It was all 
through the bite of that stoat, for I opened 
the wound in the lip, and it was all swolo, and 
dreadful ulcerated, and all down the thnat it 
was inflamed most shocking, and so was the 
lunys quite red and liory. She was h<jt with 
work when she got the bite, and perhaps tliat 
made her take the pison quicker. 

" To give you a proof, sir, of the savage 
nature of tho femits, I was one night at 
Jimmy Show's, where there was a match to 
come off with rats, which the feiTut was to 
kill; and young Bob Shaw (Jun's son) was 
holding the t'errut up to his mouth and giving 
it spittle, whon the animal seized him by the 
lip, and bit it right through, and hung on as 
tight 8s a vice, "which shows the spitefuluess 
<if the ferrut, and how it will ottack the 
liuman frame. Young Shaw still hold the 
ferrut in his hand whilst it was fastened to his 
lip. and he was saying, • Oh, oh ! ' in pain. You 
see, I think Jim kept it very hard to make it 
kill the rats better. There was some noble- 
men there, and also Mr. George, of Kensal 
New-town, was there, wluch is one of the 



largest dog-fanciers wc have. To make tlie 
ferrut leave go of young Shaw, they bit its 
feet and tail, and it wouldn't, 'cos — as I could 
have told 'em — it only made it bite all the 
more. At last Mr. George, says he to me, 
' For God's sake. Jack, take the ferrut oflL' 
I didn't like to intrude myself upi^n the com- 
pany before, not being in my own ]>lace, and 
I didn't know how Jimmy would take it. Every- 
body in the .room was at a standstill, quite 
horrerfied, and Jimmy himself was in a driead- 
ful way for his boy. I went up, and quietly 
forced my thumb into Ids mouth and loosed 
him, and he killed a dozen rats aftcT that. 
They all said, * Bravo, JacJs, you are a plucked 
one ; ' and the little chap said, * Well, Jock, 
I didn't like to holla, but it was dreadful 
painful.' His lip swf>le up directly as big as a 
nigger's, and the company made a collectixm 
for the lad of some dozen sliillings. This 
shows that, although a fciTut will kill a rat, 
yet, hke the rat, it is always wicious, and will 
attack the human fnune. 

" When I was abont fifteen, sir, I turned to 
bird-fancying. I was verj- fond of the sombre 
linnet. I was very succi^ssful in raising them, 
and sold them for a deal of money. I've got 
the strain of them by me now. I've ris tliem 
from some I purchased from a person in the 
Coal-yard, Drury-lane. I give him 2/. for one 
of the periwinkle strain, hut afterwards I 
heard of a person with, as I thought, a better 
strain — Lawson of Holloway — and I went 
and give him SOs. for a bird. I then ris 
them. I used to go nnd ketch the nestlings 
off the common, and ris Hiem under the old 
trained birds. 

i.. " Originally linnets was taught to sing by a 
bird-organ — ^principally among the weavers, 
years ago,— but I used to make the old birds 
teach tlie young ones. I used to molt them 
off in the dark, by kivering the cages up, and 
then they'd learn from hearing the old ones 
singing, and would take the song. If any 
did not sing perfectly I used to sell 'em as 
cast-offs. 

** Tho linnet's is a beautiful song. There 
are four-and-twenty changes in a linnet's song. 
It's one of the beau ti fullest song-bu'ds we've 
got. It sings * toys,' as we call them ; that is, 
it makes sounds which we distinguish in the 
fancy as the * toUork eeke coke quake le 
wheet; single eke eke quake wheels, or eek cck 
quake chowls ; eege pipe chowl : laugh; eege 
poy chowls ; rattle ; pipe ; fenv ; pugh and poy.' 

" This seems like Greek t<.) you, sir, but it's 
the tunes we use in the fanty. What we terms 
*fear' is a sound like fear, as if they wa< 
frightened ; * laugh ' is a kind of shake, nearly 
the same as tlie * rattle.' 

" I know the sounds of all the English 
birds, and what tliey say. I could tell you 
about the nightingale, the blac-k cap, heJp:c 
warbler, garden wai-bler, petty chat, red start 
— a beautifhl song-bird — the willow wren — 
little warblers they are — linnets, or any of 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



15 



for X liaT6 got their sonnds in my ear 
ind my mouth.'* 

As if to prove Uiis, he drew from a slde- 
poekei a coaple of tin bird-whisUes, which 
were attached by a string to a button-hole. 
He instantly began to imitate the different 
birds, commencing with their call, and then 
expbuning how, when answered to in snch a 
way, they gave another note, and how, if still 
imonded to, they uttered a diiferent sound. 

ID. fact, he gave me the whole of the con- 
Tieiiation he usually cairied on with the 
diildrent idnds of birds, each one being as it 
wer« in a different language. He also showed 
me how he aUnred them to him, when they 
were in the air singing in the distance, and 
he did this by giving their entire song. His 
cheeks and throat seemed to be in constant 
motion as he filled the room with his loud 
imitations of the lark, and so closely did he 
resemble the notes of the bird, that it was no 
longer any wonder how the Uttle things could 
be deceived. 

In the same manner he illustrated the songs 
of the nightingale, and so many birds, that I 
did not recognise the names of some of them. 
He knew ^ their habits as well as notes, and 
rested to me the peculiar chirp they make on 
rising from the ground, as well as the sound 
by which he distinguishes that it is ** uneasy 
with curiosity," or ihafc it has settled on a tree. 
Indeed, he appeared to be acquainted with all 
the chirps which distinguished , any action in 
the bird up to the point when, as he told me, 
it ** circles about, and then faJls like a stone 
to the ground with its pitch." 

*' The nightingale,*^ he continued, *< is a 
beautiful song-bird. Th^re plucky birds, too, 
and they hear a call and answer to anybody ; 
and when taken in April they're plucked enough 
to sing as soon as put in a cage. I can ketch 
a nightingale in less than five minutes; as 
soon as he calls,I cells to him with my mouth, 
snd hell answer me (both by night or day), 
either from a spinny (a little copse), a dell, 
or a wood, wherever he may be. I make my 
scrapes, (that is, dear away the dirt), set my 
traps, and catch 'em almost before r.ve tried 
my lock. Tve ketched sometimes thirty in a 
d^, for although people have got a notion 
that nightingales is scarce, still those who can 
distinguish their song in the daytime know 
that Uiey are plentiful enough — almost like 
the lark. You see persons fancy that them 
nightingales as sings at night is the only ones 
linng. but itTs wrong, for many on them only 
■iogH in the day. 

** Yon see it was when I was about 
fighteen, I was beginning to get such a judge 
i^nt birds, sir. I sold to a butcher, of the 
same of Jackson, the first young un that I 
iD»ie money out of — for two pounds it was — 
and I've sold loads of 'em since for thirty 
thillings or two pounds each, and I've got 
tbe strain by me now. I've aUo got by me 
BOW the bird that won the match at Mr. Lock- 



wood's in Drury-lane, and won the return 
match at my own place in High -street, Mara- 
bun. It was in the presence of all tlie fancy. 
He's moulted pied (pie-bald) since, and gone 
a little white on the head and the back. We 
only sang for two pounds a side — it wasn't a 
great deal of money. In our matches we sing 
by both gas and daylight He was a master- 
baker I sang against, but I forget his name. 
They do call him * Holy Face," but that's a 
nick-name, because he's very much pock- 
marked. I wouldn't sell that bird at all for 
anythink ; I've been offered ten pounds for it. 

Captain E put ten sovereigns down on 

tlie counter for him, and I wouldn't pick 'em 
up, for I've sold lots of his strain for a pound 
each. 

'• \Vhon I foimd I was a master of the 
birds, then I turned to my rat business again. 
I had a little rat dog — a black tan terrier of 
the name of Billy — which was the greatest 
stock dog in London of that day. He is the 
father of the greatest portion of the small 
block tan dogs in London now, which Mr. 
Isaac, the bird-fancier in Princes-street, pur- 
chased one of the strain for six or seven 
pounds; which Jimmy Massey afterwards 
purchased another of the strain, for a monkey, 
a bottle of wine, and throe pounds. That was 
the rummest bargain I over marie. 

" I've ris and trained monkoys by shoals. 
Some of mine is about now in shows ex- 
hibiting ; one in particular — Jimmy. 

" One of the strain of this little black tan 
dog would draw a badger twelve or fourteen 
lbs. to his six lbs., which was done for a 
wager, 'cos it was thought the badger had his 
teeth drawn, but ho hadn't, as was proved by 

his biting Mr. P from Birmingham, for he 

took a piece clean out of his trousers, which 
was pretty good proof, and astonished them 
all in the room. 

'* I've been offered a sovereign a-pound for 
some of my little terriers, but it wouldn't pay 
me at that price, for they weren't heavier than 
two or three pounds. 1 once sold one of the 
dogs, of this same strain, for fourteen pounds, 

to the Austrian Ambassador. Mrs. H 

tlie banker's lady, wished to get my strain of 
terriers, and she give me five pounds for the 
use of him ; in fact, my terrier dog was kno^^-n 
to aU the London fancy. * As rat-killing <logs, 
there's no eqiuil to that strain of black tan 
terriers. 

" It's fifteen year ago since I first worked 
for Goverment. I found that the parks was 
much infested with rats, which had undor- 
minded the bridges and gnawed the drains, 
and I marie application to Mr. Westlcy, who 
was superintendent of the park, and ho spoke 
of it, and then it was wrote to me that I was 
to fulfil the siterwation, and I was to have 
six pounds a-year. But after that it was 
altered, and I was to have so much ahead, 
which is tlireepence. After that, Newton, 
what was a wamdnt destroyer to her Majesty, 



Xo. I VI. 



IQ 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



dj-ing, I wrote in to the Board of Hordnance, 
when they appointed me to each statioii in 
London— that was, to RegenLsey-park- bar- 
racks, to the Knightjsbridge and Portland- 
han-acks, and to all tlie oOicr barracks in the 
metropolis. I've got tlie letter now by me, in 
which they says * Uiey is proud to appint me.' 

'* I've taken thirty-two rats out of one hole 
in the islands in Regentsey-park, and found in 
it fish, birds, and loads of eggs — duck-eggs, 
and every kind. 

•* It must be fourteen year since I first went 
about the streets exhibiting with rats. I be- 
gan with a cart and a'most a donkey; for 
it was a pony scarce bigger; but I've had 
three or four big horses since that, and ask 
anybody, and they'll tell you I'm noted for my 
cattle. I thought that by having a kind of 
costume, and the rats painted on tlie cart, and 
going round the country, I should gei my 
name about, and get myself knowed ; and so 
I did, for folks 'ud come to me, so that some- 
times I've had four jobs of a-day, from people 
seeing my cart. I found I was quite the 
master of the rat, and could do pretty well 
what I liked with him ; so I used to go round 
Finchley, Highgate, and all the sububs, and 
show myself, and how I handled the warmiut. 

** I used to wear a costume of white leather 
breeches, and a green coat and scarlet waist- 
kit, and a goold band round my hat, and a 
belt across my shoulder. I used to make a 
first-rate appearance, such as was becoming 
the imiform of the Queen's rat-ketcher. 

" Lor' bless you ! I've travell'd all over 
London, and I'll kill rats again anybody. 
I'm open to all the world for any sum, from 
one pound to fifty. I used to have my belts 
painted at first by Mr. Bailey, the animal 
painter — with four white rats; but the idea 
come into my head that I'd cast the rats 
i.i metal, just to make more appearance for 
the belt, to come out in the world. I was 
nights and days at it, and it give me a deal of 
bother. I ceuld manage it no how ; but by my 
own ingenuity and persewerance I succeeded. 
A man axed me a pound a-piece for casting the 
rats — that would ha* been four pound. I was 
very certain that my belt, being a handsome 
one, would help my business treraonjous in 
the sale of my composition. So I took a 
mould from a dead rat in plaster, and then 
I got some of my wife's sarsepans, and, by 
G — , I casted 'em with some of my own 
pewter-pots." 

The wife, who was standing by, here ex- 
claimed — 

" Oh, my poor sarsepans ! I remember 'em. 
There was scarce one left to cook our wittels 
with." 

'• Thoussmds of moulders," continued Jack 
Black, *• used to come to see mo do tho casting 
of the rats, and they kept sajing, * You'll never 
do it, Jack.' The great tUfiiculty, you sec, was 
casting the heye — which is a black bead — into 
tho metal. 



"When tho belt was done, I had a groat 
success; for, bless you, I couldn't go a yard 
without a crowd after me. 

'* When I was out with the cart selling my 
composition, my usual method was this. I 
used to put a board across the top, and form a 
kind of counter. I always took with me a iron- 
wire cage — so big a one, that Mr. Barnet, a 
Jew, laid a wager that he could get into it, and 
ho did. I used to form this cage at one end of 
the cart, and sell my composition at the other. 
There were rats painted round the cart — that 
was the only show I had about the wehicle. I 
used to take out the rats, and put them outside 
the cage ; and used to begin tho show by putting 
rats inside my shirt next my buzzum, or in my 
coat and breeches pockets, or on my shoulder 
— in fact, all about mo, anywhere. The i)eople 
would stand to see me take up rats witliout 
being bit. I never said much, but I used to 
handle the rats in every possible manner, 
letting 'em run up my arm, and stroking tlieir 
backs and playing witli 'em. Most of the 
people used to fancy they had been tamed on 
purpose, until they'd see me take fresh ones 
from the cage, and play with them in the same 
manner. I all this time kept on selling my 
composition, which my man Joe used to offer 
about; and whenever a packet was sold, I 
always tested its wirtues by killing a rat with 
it afore the people's own eyes. 

'• I once went to Tottenham to sell my com- 
position, and to exhibit with my rats afore the 
country people. Some countrymen, which 
said they were rat-ketchers, came up to me 
whilst I was playing with some rats, and said 
— * Ugh, you're not a rat-ketcher ; that's not 
the way to do it.' They were startled at seeing 
me selling tho pison at such a rate, for the 
shilling packets was going xmcommon well, sir. 
I said, • No, I ain't a rat-ketcher, and don't know 
nothink about it. You come up and show me 
how to do it,' One of them come up on the 
cart, and put his hand in the cage, and curous 
enough he got three bites directly, and afore 
he could take his hands out they was nearly 
bit to ribands. My man Joe, says he, * I tell 
you, if we ain't rat-ketchers, who is ? We are 
the regular rat ketchers ; my master kills 'em, 
and then I eats 'em' — and he takes up a live 
one and puts its head into his mouth, and I 
puts my hand in the cage and pulls out six or 
seven in a cluster, and holds 'em up in the sdr7 
witliout even a bite. The countrymen bust out 
laughing ; and they said, ' Well, you're the best 
we ever see.' I sold near 4/. worth of compo- 
sition that day. 

"Another day, when I'd been out flying 
pigeons as well— carriers, which I fancies to — 
I drove tho cart, after selling the composition, 
to the King's Arms, Hanwell, and there was a 
feller there — a tailor by trade — what had 
turned rat-ketcher. He had got witli him some 
fifty or sixty rats — the miserablest mangey 
brutes you ever seed in a tub — taking 'e:n up 
to London to sell. I, hearing of it, was deter- 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR, 



17 



imned to have a lark, so I goes up and takes 
oQt ten of them rats, and puts them inside my 
shirt, next my buzzum, and then I iraUcs into 
the parlour and sits down, and begins drinking 
my ale as right as if nothink had happened. 
I scarce had seated myself, when the landlord 
— ^wbo was in the lay — says, ' I know a man 
who'll ketch rats quicker than anybody in the 
world.' This put the tailor chap up, so he 
olfers to bet half-a-gallon of ale he would, and 
I takes him. He goes to the tub and brings 
oat a very laige rat, and walks with it into the 
Toom to show to the company. * Well,* says I 
to the man, • why I, who ain't a rat-ketcher, I've 
got a bigger one here,' and I pulls one out 
from my buzzum. * And here's another, and 
another, and another,' says I, till I had placed 
the whole ten on the table. * That's the way 
I ketch 'em,' says I, — *they comes of their 
own accord to me.' He tried to handle the 
warmints, but the poor fellow was bit, and his 
hands was soon bleeding fur'ously, and I with- 
out a mark. A gentleman as knowed me said, 
■-This must be the Queen's rat-ketcher, and that 
sp ilt the fun. The poor fellow seemed regular 
done up, and said, ' I shall give up rat-ketching, 
you've beat me ! Here I've been travelling 
with rats all my life, and I never see such a 
thing afore.* 

" When. I've been in a mind for travelling 
I've never sold less than ten shillings' worth 
of my composition, and I've many a time sold 
five pounds' worth. Ten shillings' worth was 
the least I ever sold. During my younger 
career, if I'd had a backer, I might, one week 
with another, have made my clear three pounds 
a. week, after paying all my expenses and 
feeding my horse and alL 

'* I challenge my composition, and sell the 
art of rat-destroying, against any chemical rat- 
destmyer in the world, for any sum — ^I don't 
care what it is. Let anybody, either a medical 
or druggist manufacturer of composition, come 
and test with rats again me, and they'll pretty 
soon find it out. People pay for composition 
instead of employing the Queen's rat-ketcher, 
what kills the warmint and lays down his com- 
position for nothink into the bargain likewise. 
** I also destroy black beedles with a com- 
position which I ilways keep with me again it's 
wanted. I often have to destroy thd beedles in 
wine-cellars, which gnaw the paper off the 
bottles, snch as is round the champagne and 
French wine bottles. Pve killed lots of 
beedles too for bakers. I've also sterminated 
some thousands of beedles for linen-drapers 
and pork-sassage shops. There's two kinds of 
beedles, the hard-shell and the soft-shell 
beedle. The hard-shell one is the worst, and 
Uua will gnaw cork, paper, and anythink 
vodlen. The soft-shell'd one will gnaw bread 
<v food, and it also lays its eggs in the food, 
vbiefa is dreadful nasty. 

" There's the house ant too, which there is 
tome thousands of people as never saw — I 
itenninate them as well. There's a Mrs. B. 



at the William the Fourth pnblic-house, 
Hampstead; she couldn't lay her cliild's clothes 
down without getting 'em full of ants. They've 
got a stingp something in feel like a horse-fly's, 
and is more annoying than dangerous. It's 
cockroaches that are found in houses. They're 
dreadful nasty things, and will bite, and they 
are equal to the Spanish flies for blistering. 
I've tried all insects on my flesh to see how 
they bite me. Cockroaches will undermine 
similar to the ant, and loosen the bricks the 
same as the cricket. It's astonishing how so 
small an insect as them will scrape away such 
a quantity of mortar as they do — which thing 
infests grates, floorings, and such-like. 

" The beedle is a most 'strordinnry thing, 
which will puzzle most people to sterminate, 
for they lays sitch a lot of eggs as I would 
never guarantee to do away with beedles — only 
to keep them clear ; for if you kills the old 
ones the eggs will rewive, and young ones come 
out of the wainskitting and sitch-like, and then 
your employers will say, ' Wliy you were paid 
for sterminating, and yet here they are.' 

" One night in August — the niglit of a very 
heavy storm, which, maybe, you may remem- 
ber, sir — I was sent for by a medical gent as 
lived opposite the Load of Hay, Hampstead, 
whose two children had been att^icked by rats 
while they was sleeping in their little cots. I 
traced the blood, which had left lines from 
their tails, through the openings in the lath 
and plaster, wliich I follered to where my 
ferruts come out of, and they must have come 
up from the bottom of the house to the attics. 
The rats gnawed the hands and feet of the 
little children. The lady heard them crying, 
and got out of her bed and called to the servant 
to know what the child was making such a 
noise for, when they struck a light, and then 
they see the rats running away to the holes ; 
their little night-gownds was kivered with 
blood, as if their throats had been cut. I asked 
the lady to give me one of the night-gownds to 
keep as a cur'osity, for I considered it a phee- 
nomenon, and she give it to me, but I never 
was so vexed in all my life as when I was told 
the next day that a maid had washed it. I went 
down the next morning and stenfdnated them 
rats. I found they was of the specie of rat 
which we term the blood-rat, which is a dread- 
ful spiteful feller — a snake-headed rat, and 
infests the dwellings. There may have been 
some dozens of 'em altogether, but it's so long 
ago I a'most forget how many I took in that 
house. The gent behaved uncommon hand- 
some, and said, * Mr. Black, I can never pay 
you for this;' and ever arterwards, when I 
used to pass by that there house, the little 
dears when they see me used to call out to 
their mamma, '0, here's Mr. Ratty, ma!' 
They wei-e very pretty little fine children — 
uncommon handsome, to be sure. 

" I once went to Mr. Hollins's, in Edward- 
street Begent's-park — a cow- keeper he was — 
where he was so infested that the cows could 



18 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



not la\ down or eat their food, for the rats used 
to go into the mauger, and light at 'em. Air. 
lloUins snid to me, * Black, what shall I give 
yon to get rid of tUem rats?' and I said to him, 
Bays I. • >Vell. Mr. llollins, you're a poor man, 
and I leave it to you.' (He's got awful ricli 
since thon. ) I went to work, and I actually 
took out :3(X) rats from one hole in Uie wall, 
which I had to can*}' them in my mouth and 
hands, and under my arms, and in my huzzum 
and pockets, to take them to the cage. I was 
hit dreadful by tliem, and suiTerod greatly hy 
the bites; but nothink to lay up for, though 
very painful to the hands. Toperveut the ruts 
from getting out of the hole, 1 had to stop it 
up by putting my breast again it> and thon they 
was jumping up again me and gnawing at my 
waistkit. I should think I stenninated 000 
from thorn premises. Ah! I did wonders 
round there, and everybody was talking of my 
feats. 

•• I'll tell you about another cow-keeper's, 
which Mr. HoUins was so gratified with my 
skill what I had done, that he pays me hand- 
some and generous, and gives me a rooom- 
moudation to Mrs. Brown's, of Camdt* n-town, 
and there I sterminated above 7CX) rats ; and I 
was a-near being killed, for I was stooping 
down under the manger, when a cow heerd the 
rats squeak, and she butts at me and scuds me 
up again the b\dl. The bull was voiy savage, 
and I fainted ; but I was picked up and washed, 
and then I come to. 

** Whilst doing tliat job at Mrs. Brown's I 
had to lie down on the ground, and push my 
naked arm into the hole till I could reach thf 
rats as I'd driven up in the comer, and ihv.n 
pull them out with my hand. I was dreadful 
hit, for I was obleeged to haniUe them any- 
how ; uiy liesh was cut to ribands and dreadful 
laccruted. 

" There was a mnn Mrs. Brown lind got of the 
name of John, and he wouldn't believe about 
the rats, and half thought I brought 'em \^ith 
me. So I showecl him how to ketch rats. 

" You sei> rats have always got a main run, 
and from it go the branch runs on each side 
like on a herring-bone, and at the end of the 
branch runs is the bolt-holes, for coming in 
and out at. I instantly stopped up all the 
bolt-holes and worked Uie rats down to tlie 
end of the main run, then I broke up the 
branch runs and stopped the rats getting back, 
and thon, when I'd got 'em all together at tlie 
end of the main run, I put my arm down and 
lifted them up. I have had at times to put 
half my body into a hole and thrust down my 
arm just like getting rabbits out of their bur- 
rers. 

'* Sometimes I have to go myself into the 
holes, for the rats make such big ones, there's 
plent>' of room. There was a Mrs. Perry in 
Albany-street that kept an oil and coke shop 
—she were infested with rats dreadful. Three 
of her shop- boys had been sent away on sus- 
picion of stealing fat, instead of which it was 



the rats, for l>etween the walls and the vault 
1 found a hundred and a half of fat stowed 
away. The rats was very savage, and I should 
think there was 200 of them. I made a good 
bit of money by that job, lor Mrs. Perry give 
the fat to me. 

*^ I have had some good finds at times, rat- 
hunting. I found under one Hoor in a gent's 
house a great quantity of table napkins and 
>iilver spoons and forks, which tlie rats had 
carried away for the grease on 'em — shoes 
and boots gnawed to pieces, sliifts, aprons, 
gowuds, pieces of silk, and I don't know what 
not. Sarvants had been discharged accused of 
stealing them there things. Of course I had 
to give them up ; but there they was. 

*• I was once induced to go to a mews in 
Tavistook-place, near Russell-square, which 
was reg'lar infested by rat<. 'I'hoy had sent to 
a man before, and he couldn't do nothink with 
'em, but I soon sterminatcil them. The rats 
there had worried a pair of bcwitiful chestnut 
horses, by gnawing away their hoofs and 
nearly driving them mad, which I saw myself, 
and there was all their teeth -marks, for I 
I could scarcely believe it myself till I see it. I 
found them near a cart-loail of ronimou 
bricks, under the floor, and near the i>;irtition 
of the stable, which, when the men pulled 
the wood- work down, the coaclimmi, snys he, 
* Well, rat-ketcher, if you'd been emi>l«iyoil years 
ago a deal more com would have gone into 
the horses.* 

" This coachman give mo a rocoramonda- 
to a muffin-maker in Hanway-yard, and I went 
there and killed tlic rats. But a most sing'Iar 
tiling took place there; my ft?rr«t got iiwny 
and run through into a house in Oxford-street 
kept by a linen-draper, for the young men 
come to say that the rat-ketchcr's f.-rret was 
in their shop, and had bit one of their lady 
customers. I worked the ferrut through three 
times to make sure of this ; and each time mj 
little dog told mo it was true. You see a well- 
trained dog will watch and staud and point to 
the ferrut working under ground just as a 
pinter does to game ; and although he's above 
ground, yet he'll track the fennit through the 
runs undemeatli by the smell. If the ferrut 
is lost — which I tell by the dog being uneasy 
— I say to the dog, * Hi, lost ; ' and tlien he in- 
Btantly goes on scent, and smells about in 
every direction, and I follers him, till he 
stands exactly over the spot where it may be, 
and then I have either to rise a stone or lift a 
board to get liim out. 

" I've ratted for years for Mr. Hodges, of 
Hodges and Lowman's, in Regent-street; and 
he once said to me, that he was infested 
dreadAU with rats at the house, which he took 
for the children, at Hampstead; so I went 
there, and witnessed, certainly, the most cuT- 
ous circumstance, which puzzles me to this 
day. I had to lay on my belly half in the hole 
and pull out the rats; and, on looking at 
them, as I brings them up, I un aalouished 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOB. 



19 



to find that nearly ereiy one of them is blind, 
and has a speck in the eye. I was never so 
nrach astoniidied in my life, for tho} was as a 
wall-cyed dog nught be. I supposed it to be 
froia. Ughtning (1 couldn't account for it no 
other ways), for at that time there was very 
heavy lightning and floods up there, which 
maybe you might remember, sir. They was 
chiefly of the blood-rat specie — small snake- 
head^ rats, with a big, flne taiL They was 
Teiy savage with me, and I had them run all 
orer me before I keiohed th^m. 

**• Bats are everywhere about London, both 
in rid^ and poor places. I've ketohed rats in 
44 Portland -place, at a clergyman's house 
there. There was 200 and odd. They had un- 
derminded the oven so, that th^ could nei- 
ther bile nor bake ; they had under-pinioned 
the stables, and let every stone down through- 
out the premises, pretty well. I had to crawl 
under a big leaden dstem which the rats had 
under-pinioned, and I expected it would come 
down upon me every minute. I had one little 
feimt lull thiity-two rats under one stone, and 
I lifted the dead ones up in the presence of 
the cook and the butler. He didn't behave 
well to me — the gent didn't — for I had to go 
to my lawyer's afore I could get paid, and 
titer the use of my skill ; and I had to tell the 
lawyer Td pawn my bed to stick to him and 
get my eamingn ; but, after all, I had to take 
one-tluld less than my bilL This, thinks I, 
isn't the nght thing ibr Portland-place. 

** Bats will eat each other like rabbits, 
which I've watched them, and seen them turn 
the dead one's skins out like pusses, and cat 
the flesh oflf beautiful dean. I've got cages of 
iron-wire, which I made myself, which will 
hold 1000 rats at a time, and I've had these 
cages piled up with rata, solid like. No one 
would ever bdieve it; to look at a quantity of 
rats, and see how they will fight and tear one 
another about, — it's astonishing, so it is I I 
never found any rats smothered, by putting 
them in a cage so full ; but if you don't feed 
them every day, they'll fight and eat one ano- 
ther — they will, like cannibals. 

'* I genml contzaots with my customers, by 
the year, or month, or job. There's some 
genta I've woriced for these fifteen years — 
aiteh as Mr. Bobson, the coach - builder, 
Mivart's Hotel, Shoulbreds', Mr. Lloyds, the 
large tobacconist, the Commercial Life Assu- 
laiice. Lord Dunoannon^s, and I can't recollect 
how many more. My terms is from one 
guinta to five pounds per annum, according 
to the premises. Besides this, I have all the 
tats that I ketch, and they sell for threepence 
aoeh. But Tva done my work too well, and 
irtwrevmr I went I've cleared the rats right 
oat, and so my customers have fell off. I have 
■ot the beat teadmonials of any man in Lon- 
don, and I eonld get a hatful more to-morrer. 
Ask anybody Tve worked for, and they'll tell 
you about Jack Blaek. 

» Ono night I had two hundred rats in a 



cage, placed in my sitting-room, and a gent's 
dog happened to get at the cage, and undid 
the door, snufiin|f about, and let 'em all loose. 
Directly I come in I knew they was loose by 
the 8mel>. I had to go on my knees and sto- 
mach under the beds and scKfas, and all over 
the house, and before twelve o'clock that night 
I had got 'em all back again into the cage, and 
sold them after for a match. I was so fearful 
they'd get gnawing the children, having ster- 
minated them in a house where children had 
been gnawed. 

** I've turned my attention to evexything 
connected with animals. I've got the best 
composition for curing the mange in a horse 
or a dog. which has reglor astonished medical 
gents. I've also been bit by a mad dog — a 
black retriever dog, that died racing mad in a 
cellar afterwards. The only thing I did was, 
I washed the wound with salt and water, and 
used a turpentine poultice." 

Mrs. Black here interposed, exclaiming, — 

*^ dear me ! the salt and water he's had to 
his flesh, it ought to be as hard as iron. I'vo 
seen him put lumps of salt into his wounds." 

Mr. Black then continued : — 

" I never had any uneasiness from that bite 
of a mad dog ; indeed, I never troubled myself 
about it, or even thought of it. 

^ I've caught some other things besides rats 
in my time. One night, I saw a little South 
African cat going along the New -road. I 
thought it was a cur'ous specie of rat, and 
chased it, and brought it home with me ; but 
it proved to belong to Mr. Herring's mena- 
gerie in the New-road, so I let him have it 
back again. 

" Another time I met with two racoons, which 
I found could handle mc just as well as I could 
handle a rat, for they did bite and scratch 
awful. I put 'em in the cart, and brought 
thorn home in a basket. I never found out to 
whom they belonged. I got them in KatcUfle- 
highway, and no doubt some sailors had 
brought them over, and got drunk, and let 
'em loose. I tried them at killing rats, but 
they weren't no good at that. 

*' I've leomt a monkey to kill rats, but he 
wouldn't do much, and only give them a good 
shaking when they bit him. After I found the 
racoons no good, I trained a badger to kill 
rats, and he was superior to any dog, but very 
difficult in training to get him to loll, though 
they'll kill rabbits fast enough, or any other 
kind of game, for they're rare poachers are 
badgers. I used to call her Polly. She killed 
in my own pit, for I used to obleege my 
friends that wouldn't believe it possible with 
the sight. She won several matches — the 
largest was in a hundred match. 

'* I also sterminate moles for her Majesty, 
and the Woods and Forests, and I've stermi- 
nated some hundreds for different farmers in 
the country. It's a cur'ous thing, but a mole 
will kiU a rat and eat it afterwards, and two 
nudes will fight wonderful. They've got a 



20 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



mouth exactly like a shark, and teeth like 
saws ; ah, a wonderftil saw mouth. They're a 
very sharp-biting little animal, and very pain- 
ful. A rat is frightened of one, and don't like 
fighting them at all. 

" Fve bred the finest collection of pied rats 
which has ever been knowed in the world. I 
had above eleven hundred of them — all wane- 
gated rats, and of a dififerent specie and 
colour, and all of them in the first instance 
bred from the Norwegian and the white rat, 
and afterwards crossed with other specie. 

" I have ris some of the largest tailed rats 
ever seen. I've sent them to all parts of the 
globe, and near every town in England. When 
I sold 'em ott', three hundred of them went to 
France. I ketched the first white rat I had 
at Hampstendj and the black ones at Messrs. 
Hodges and Lowman's, in Regent-street, and 
them I bred in. I have 'em fawn and white, 
black and white, brown and white, red and 
white, blue-black and white, black-white and 
red. 

" People come from all parts of London to 
sec them rat«, and I supplied near all the 
* happy families ' with them. Burke, who 
had the ' happy family ' showing about Lon- 
don, has had hundreds from me. They got 
very tame, and you could do anythink with 
them. I've sold many to ladies for keeping 
in squirrel cages. Years ago I sold 'em for 
five and t«*n shillings a-pieco, but towards the 
end of my breeding them, I let 'cm go for 
two-and-six. At a shop in Leicester-square, 
where Cantello's liatching-eggs machine was, 
I sold a sow and six young ones for ten shil- 
lings, which formerly I have had five pounds 
for, being so docile, like a sow sucking her 
pigs." 

The Sewerman. 

He is a broad-shouldered, strongly-built man, 
with a stoop in his shoulders, and a rather 
dull cast of features ; from living so much in 
the " shores " (sewers), his eyes have a-^sumcd 
a peering kind of look, that is quite rat-like in 
its fdrtivencss. 

He answered our questions with great good 
Immour, but in short monosyllabic terms, pe- 
culiar to men who have little commimion with 
their fellows. 

The " parlour " in which the man lives was 
literally swarming with children when we paid 
him a visit (they were not all "belonging " to 
him). Nor was it quite pleasant to find that 
the smell of the tea, which had just been made, 
was overpowered by the odour of the rats 
which he keeps in the same room. 

The week's wash was hanging across the 
apartment, and gave rather a slovenly aspect 
to the room, not otherwise peculiar for its un- 
tidyness ; against the wall were pasted some 
children's " characters," which his second son, 
who is at the coal-shed, has a taste for, and 
which, as the *' shoreman " observed, *' is 
better than sweet-stufiT for him, at all events." 



A little terrier was jumping playfully about 
the room, a much more acceptable companion 
than the bull-dog whose acquaintance we had 
been invited to make (in the same court ) by the 
" rat-killer." 

The fiuTiituTB and appointments of the 
"parlour" were extremely humble — not to 
say meagre in their character. After some 
trouble in getting sufficiently lucid answers, 
the following was the result : — 

" There ore not so many rats about as there 
used to be — not a five-hundredth part so 
many. I've seen long ago twenty or thirty in 
a row near where the slaughter-houses are, 
and that like. I ketch them all down the 
shores. I run after them and pick them up 
with my hand, and I take my lantern with 
me, 

"I have caught rats these six or seven 
yoars. When the money got to bo lowered, I 
took to kctching on them. One time I used 
to take a dog with me, when I worked down 
St. John's-wood way. 

" They fetches all prices, does rats ; some I 
get threepence a-pieco for, some twopence, 
some twopence- halfpenny — 'cordiu' who has 
'cm. 

" I works on the shores, and our time to 
leave oif is four. I comes homo and gets my 
tea, and if there's sale for them, wliy I goes 
out and ketches a few rats. When I goes out 
I can ketch a dozen ; but, years ago, I could 
ketch two or three dozen without going so 
far, and that shows there's not so many now 
about 

"I finds some difficulty in ketching on 
them. If they gct« into the drain you can't 
get 'cm. Where the drains lay low to the 
shore it's most difficult, but where the drain 
is about two feet and a-half from the shore 
you gets a better chance. 

" Three or four dozen I used to ketch, but 
I haven't ketched any this last two or three 
weeks. In this hot weather people don't like 
to be in a room where * killing ' is going on ; 
but in the winter time a man will have his 
pint of beer and see a little sport that way. 
Three or four year ago I did ketch a pood 
many ; there was a ssde for 'em. I could go 
and ketch two dozen in three hours, and that 
sooner than I can do a dozen now. It's vai'- 
mint as wants to be destroyed. 

" Rats'U turn round when they finds their- 
selves beat, and sometimes fiy at your hand. 
Sometimes Fve got bit — not very badly, 
though. To tell the truth, I don't like it 
When they grip, they do holt so tight before 
they'll let go. 

•* I've been a shoreman these fifteen or six- 
teen year, ever since this flushing com- 
menced. I was put on by the Commissioners 
in Hatting OanUng ; but the Commissioners 
is all done away with since Government took 
to it Tm employed by the parish now. 
Every parish has to do its own flushing. 

** We cleanses away all the soil what's down 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



21 



bcloir, and keeps the shore as sweet as what 
mpofisihly can. 

''Before I took to this life I was what they 
cdl a nsTTy ; I used to help to make the 
Bfaores, and before that, I was in the country 
•t funaersr work. 

^ Ketching them rats ain't all profit, 'cause 
you ha^e to keep 'em and feed 'em. I've 
some here, if I was to get sixpence a-piece 
for, why it wouldn't pay me for their feed. I 
give them barley generally, and hits of bread. 
** There's a many about now ketchin' who 
does nothink else, and who goes down in the 
shores when they have no busineA there at 
tIL They does well by rats when they've 
good call for 'em. They can go down two or 
three times a-day, and ketch a dozen and a 
half a time ; but they can't do much now, 
there's no killing going on. They takes 'em 
to beer-shops, and sells 'em to the landlords, 
who gets their own price for ^m if there's a 
piL 

" Time ago yon couldn't get a rat under 
iizpence. But the tax on dogs has done 
svay wonderful with rat-killing. London 
would swarm with rats if they hadn't been 
ketched as they has been. I can go along 
shores and only see one or two now, some- 
tuues see none. Times ago I've drove 
away twenty or thirty afore me. Bound 
Newport-market I've seen a hundred together, 
and now I go round there and perhaps won't 
ketch one. 

^As for pcisonin* 'em under buildings, 
that's wrong; they're sure to lay there and 
rot, and then they smells so. No, pisoning 
a'n't no good, specially where there's many on 
'em. 

^' I've sold Jack Black a good many. He 
dont ketch so many as he gets lolled. He's 
what they call rat-ketoher to her Majesty. 

''When I goes rat- ketching, I generally 
takes a bag with me ; a trap is too much to 
log about. 

** Some parts of the shores I can find my 
way about better than I can up above. I 
could get in nigh here and come out at High 
Park; only the worst of it is, you're always on 
the stoop. I never heeid talk of anybody 
losing theirselves in the shores, but a stranger 
might. 

** There's some what we calls ' gully-hun- 
ters ' as goes about with a sieve, and near the 
J gratings find perhaps a few ha'pence. Years 
{ igo we used to find a little now and then, but 
j Te may go about now and not find twopence in 
I s vcek I dont think any shoreman ever finds 
Bnidb. But years ago, in the city, perhaps a 
< lobboy might be committed, and then Uiey 
I ttffkt be afhud of being found out, and chuck 
tht things down the drains. 

"I eome from. Oxfordshire, about four miles 

to HeoIey-'pon-Thames. I haven't got now 

fiDte so manj clods to tramp over, nor so 

&IBT hills to <dixnb. 

I "f gets two shUlings a-dozen if I sells the 

I 



rats to a dealer, but if I takes 'em to the pit 
myself I gets three shillings. Bats has come 
down lately. There's more pits, and they 
kills 'em cheaper ; they used to kill 'em at six 
shillings a-dozen. 

" I've got five children. These here are 
not all belonging to me. Their mother's 
gone out a-nussing, and my wife's got to mind 
'em. 

" My oldest son is sixteen. He's off for a 
sailor. I had him on me for two years doin' 
nothink. He couldn't get a place, and to- 
wards the last he didn't care about it. He 
tpould go to sea ; so he went to the Marine 
School, and now he's in the East Ingy Sarv-ice. 
My second is at a coal-shed. He gets three 
shillings a-week; but. Lord, what's that? He 
eats more than that, let alone clothes, and he 
wears out such a lot of shoe-leather. There's 
a good deal of wear and tear, I can tell yer, in 
carrying out coals and such-like." 

The Penny Mouse-tbap Makeb. 

This man lived in a small cottage at the 
back of Bethnal Green-road, and the little 
ndled space in front of the humble dwelling 
was Uttered with sundxy evidences of the in- 
mate's ingenuity. Here was a mechanical 
carriage the crippled father had made to drivo 
himself along, and a large thaumatrope, or 
disc of painted figures, that seemed to move 
while revolving rapidly before the eye; and 
this, I afterwards learnt, the ingenious cripple 
had made, as a street exhibition, for a poor 
man, whom he was anxious to put in the way 
of doing something for himself. 

The principal apartment in the little two- 
roomed house was blocked up with carpenters' 
benches, and long planks were resting against 
the wall, while the walls themselves were partly 
covered with tools and patterns of the craft 
pursued ; and in one corner there were heaps of 
the penny mouse-traps and penny iponey-boxes, 
that formed the main articles of manufacture. 

In a little room adjoining this, and about the 
size of a hen-house, I found the cripple him- 
self in bed, but still sitting up with a small 
desk-like bench before him, and engaged in the 
act of cutting and arranging the wires for the 
little wooden traps in which he dealt. And as 
I sat by his bedside he told me the following 
story : — 

*' I am," he said, ** a white-wood toy-maker, 
in a small way ; that is, I make a variety of 
cheap articles, — nothing beyond a penny, — in 
sawed and planed pine- wood. I manufac- 
ture penny and halfpenny money-boxes, 
penny and nal^enny toy bellows, penny carts, 
penny garden-rollers, penny ana halfpenny 
dolls' tables and washhand-stands, chiefly 
for baby-houses ; penny dressers, with drawers, 
for the some purpose; penny wheelbarrows 
and bedsteads; penny crossbows; and the 
mouse-trap that I am about now. I make all 
the things I have named for warehouses — for 



23 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



what are called the cheap Birmingham and 
Sheffield houses. I am paid the same price 
for whatever I make, with the exception of 
the moose-trap. For the principal part of 
tlic penny articles that I make I get 7s. 
for twelve dozen, that is Id. a -dozen; 
and for the halfpenny articles I get d«. Qd,^ 
at the rate of ^\d, a-dozen. For the penny 
mouse-traps, however, I am paid only 1/. for 
thirty-six dozen, and tiiat's a shilling less than 
I get for the same quantity of the other 
shming articles ; whilst for tie penny boxes 
I'm paid only at the rate of a halfpenny each. 
'* You will please to look at that, sir," he said, 
hon<ling me his account-book wiUi one of his 
employers for the last year ; " you will see 
there that what I am saying is perfectly cor- 
rect, for there is the price put to every article ; 
and it is but right that you should have proof 
that what I'm a-telling you is the truth. I 
took of one master, for penny mouse-traps 
alone, you perceive, 36/. 10». from January to 
December, 1B49; but that is not all gain, 
you'll understand. Out of that I have to pay 
above one half for material. I think, altoge- 
ther, my receipts of the different masters I 
worked for last year came to about 120/. — I 
can't lay my hands on the bills just now. — 
Yes, it's about 120/. I know, for our income, — 
that is, my clear gains is about 1/. to 1/. 5«. 
every week. So, calculating more than one 
half what I take to go for the expense for ma. 
terial, that will bring it to just about to what 
I state. To cam the 25s. a- week, you'll under- 
Htimd, there are four of us engaged, — myself, 
my wife, my daughter, and son. My daugh- 
ter is eighteen, and my son eleven : that is my 
boy, sir ; he's reading the Family Friend just 
now. It's a little work I take in for my girl, 
for her fdture benefit My girl is as fond of 
reading as I am, and always was. My boy 
goes to school every evening, and twice on a 
Sunday. I am willing that they should find 
as much pleasure fVom reading as I have in my 
ilhiess. I found books often luH my pain. 
Yes, I have, indeed, for many hours. For 
nine months I couldn't handle a tool ; and my 
only comfort was the love of my family, and 
my books. I can't affbrd them now, for I have 
no wish to incur any extraneous expense, 
while the weight of the labour lies on my 
family more than it does on myself. Over 
and over again, when I have been in acute 
pain with my thigh, a scientific book, or a 
work on history, or a volume of travels, would 
carry m^ thoughts fhr away, and I should be 
happy in all my miseiy — hardly conscious 
that I had a trouble, a care, or a pang to vex 
mo. I always had love of solid woi^. For 
an hour's light reading, I have often turned to 
a work of imagination, such as Milton's Para- 
dise Lostt and Shakspeare's Plays ; but I pre- 
fer science to poetry. I think every working 
man ought to be acquainted with genend 
science. If he is a mechanic — let his station 
be over so simple^ — he will be sure to find the I 



benefit of it It gives a man a greater insight 
into the world and creation, and it makes his 
labour a pleasure and a pride to him, when he 
can work with his head as well as his hands. 
I think I have made, altogether, about one 
hundred and six gross of mouse-traps for the 
master whose account I have given you, and 
as many more for other employers, in the 
course of the last year. I calculate that I made 
more than thirty thousand mouse-traps from 
January to December, 1849. There are three 
or four other people i& London making penny 
mouse-traps, besides myself. I reckon they may 
make omonff them near upon half as many oe 
I do ; and tnat would give about forty- five or 
fifty thousand penny mouse-traps made in 
London in the course of the year. I myself 
brought out the penny mouse-trap in its im- 
proved shape, and with the improved lever 
spring. I have no calculations as to the num- 
ber of mice in the country, or how soon we 
should have caught them if we go on at this 
rate ; but I think my traps have to do with that 
They are bought more for toys than for use, 
though they are good for mice as well as chil- 
dren ; and though we have so many dozen mouse* 
traps about the house, I can assure you we are 
more troubled with mice here than most people. 
The four of us here can make twenty-four 
dozen traps in the day, but that is all we can 
get through comfortable. For eighteen dozen 
we got about 10«. at the warehouse, and out of 
that I reckon our clear gains are near upon 
4«., or a little less than Is. a head. Take one 
¥ath the other, we con earn about a penny an 
hour; and if it wasn't for me having been a 
tailor originally, and applying some of my old 
tools to the business, we shouldn't get on 
so quick as we do. With my shears I can 
cut twenty-four wires at a time, and with my 
thimble I thread the wires through the holes 
in the sides. I make the springs, out the 
wires, and put them in the traps. My daughter 
planes the wood and gauges out the sides and 
bottom, bores the wire-holes and makes the 
door as well. My wife nails the frames ready 
for wiring, and my son fixes the wires in their 
places when I have entered them ; then the 
wife springs them, after which the daughter 
puts in the doors and so completes them. 
I can't form an idea as to how many penny 
and halfpenny money-boxes I made last year. 
I might have made, altogether, eight thousand, 
or five thousand hal4>enny and three thousand 
I>enny ones. I was originally brought up to 
the tailoring business, but my master failed, 
and my sight kept growing weaker every year ; 
so, OS I found a good deal of trouble in getting 
employment at my own trade, I thought 1 would 
take to the bird-cage making — I had been doing 
a little at it before, as a pastime. I was fond of 
birds, and fonder still of mechanics, so I was 
always practising my hands at some croft or 
other in my over-time. I used to make 
dissected maps and puzzles, and so, when 
standing for employment, I managed to get 



LONDON LABQUM AND THE LONJXON POOR. 



23 



thioiic^ the slaek of the year. I think it is 
Kdely due to my taste for meehanics and my 
kne of roMiiDg scientific books that I am able 
to li^pe so eonkfortably as I do in ny affliction. 
After I took to bird-cage makiag, I fbund the 
empkysMBBt et it so csstud that I could not 
iiijpfml» »x fiamily at it. This kd my mind to 
toy maka^. Ux I found that cheap toys were 
arttdea of move general sale. Then I got 
my childieB and toj wiJfe to help me, and 
ira BMBa^^ to get along somehow, for you 
see th^ Here leaiaing the bnsiness, and I 
myself was not m ma6bi of a condition to 
teach them, being jalmost as inezpenenced at 
the trade as they were; and, besides that, we 
were cooUnoally changing the description of 
toy that we manofiKtured, so we had no time 
to perfect oorselTes. One day we were all at 
work at garden-rollers ; the next, perhaps, we 
sbould be apon little carts ; then, may-be, we 
shoold hare to go to dolls' tables or wheel- 
barrows : so that, with the continiial changing 
the deteription of toy that we manufactured 
fiom one thing to another, we had a great 
diffien^y in getting {practised in anything. 
While we were all leaning you may imagine 
that, not being so qnick then as we are now, 
we finmd a great diffioolty in making a living 
at the penny-toy hoaineas : often we had merely 
diy bread for breakftat, tea, and sapper, but we 
ate it with a light hearty fbr I knew repining 
wouldn't mend it, and I always taught myself 
and thoaa aboot me to hear our trials with 
fortitude. At last I got to work regularly at 
the mouse-traps, and having less changing we 
learnt to turn them out of hand quicker, and 
to make more money at the buainesa : that 
waa about four yean ago^ and then I was laid 
up with a strumous abscess in the thigh. 
This caused necrosis, or decay of the thigh- 
bone, to take place, and it was necessary that 
I should be coaJftned to my bed until such 
time as a new thigh-bone was formed, and the 
old decayed one had sloughed away. Before 
I lay up I stood at the bench until I was ready 
to ^x)p, for I had no one who could plane the 
boards for me; and whatcould I do? If I didn't 
keep up. I thought we should all starve. The 

rin was dreadful, and the anxiety of mind 
■nffifred for my wife and children made it 
a thousand times worse. I couldn't bear the 
idea of going to the workhouse, and I kept on 
my feet until I couldn't stand no longer. My 
dnighter was only sixteen then, and I saw no 
means of escape. It was at that time my office 
to prepare the boards for my &niily, and with- 
OBt that they could do nothing. Well, sir, 
I saw utter ruin and starvation before us. 
The doctor told me it would take four years 
bc&te a new bone would be formed, and that 
I must lay up all the while. What was to 
beeome of us all in the mean time I could not 
tdL Then it was that my daughter, seeing 
the pain •! saflered both in body and mind, 
finaa to me* ^aid told me not to grieve, for that 
ibs vvMiki do all the heavy work for me, and 



plane up the boards and cut out the work as 
I had done ; but I thought it impossible for 
her to get through such hard work, even for 
my sakck. I knew she could do almost any- 
thing that she. set her mind to, but I little 
dreamt that she would be able to compass that. 
However, with the instinct of her affection — 
I can't call it anything else (for she loamt at 
once what it had taken me months to acquire), 
she planed and shaped the boards as well as 
I myself could have done after years of practice. 
The furst board she did was as cleanly done as 
she can do it now, and when you t^^ink of the 
difficulties she had to overcome, what a mere 
child she was, and that she hod ne\or handled 
a plane before, how she had the grain of the 
wood to find out, to learn the right handling 
of her tools, and a many little niceties of touch 
that workmen only can understand, it does 
seem to me as if some superior Power had 
inspired her to aid me. I have often heard of 
birds building their nests of the most beautiful 
structure, wimout ever having seen one built 
before, and my daughter's handiwork seemed 
to me exactly like that It was a thing not 
learnt by practice, but done in an instant, 
without teaching or experience of any kind. 
She is the best creature I ever knew or ever 
heard tell of on earth — at least, so she has 
been to me all her life ; aye, without a single 
exception. If it hadn't been for her devotion 
I must have gone to the workhouse, and 
perhaps never been able to have got away 
nrom it, and had my children brought up as 
paux>ers. Where she got the strength to do it 
is as much a mystery to me as how she did 
it. Though she was but a mere child, so to 
speak, she did the work of a grown man, and 
I ossiure you the labour of working at the 
bench all day is heavy, even for the strongest 
workman, and my girl is not over-strong now ; 
indeed she was always delicate from a baby: 
nevertheless she went through the labour, and 
would stand to the bench the whole of the day, 
and with such cheerful good humour too that 
I cannot but see the hand of the Almighty in 
it all. I never knew her to complain of fatigue, 
or ever go to her work without a smile on her 
face. Her only anxiety was to get done, and 
to afford me every comfort in my affliction that 
she could. For three years and two months 
now have I been confined to my bed, and for 
two years and a half of that time I have not 
left it, even to . breathe the fresh open air. 
/Umost all that period I have been suffering 
intense and continued pain from the formation 
of abscesses in my thigh previous to the sloilgh- 
ing away of the decayed bones. 1 have taken 
out of the sores at least two hundred pieces, 
some OS small as needles and somo not less 
than an inch and a half long, which required 
to be pulled out with tweezers from the wound. 
Often, when 1 was getting a bit better and able 
to go about in the cart you see Uiere outside, 
with tlie gravel in it — (I made that on this bed 
here, so as to be able to move about on it { the 



24 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR, 



two front wheels I made myself, and the two 
back were old ones that I repaired here. I made 
the whole of tlio body, and my daughter planed 
up the boards for me) — well, often when I could 
juHt get along in that, have I gone about with 
a large piece of decayed bone projecting through 
my thigh, in hopes that tliejolting would force 
it through the wound. The pain before the 
bone came away was often intense, especially 
when it had to work its way tlirough the thick 
of the muscle. Night after night have I laid 
awake here. I didn't wish, of course, to distress 
the minds of my family any more than I could 
help. It would not have been fair ; so I bore 
all with patience, and since I have been here 
I have got through a great deal of work in my 
little way. Tn bed, as I sit with my little 
bench, I do my sliaro of eight dozen of these 
penny traps a-day. Lost August I made a 
' thaumatropu ' for a young man that I had 
known since a lad of twelve years of age ; he 
got off work and couldn't find anything to turn 
his hand to, so I advised him to get up an 
exliibition : anything was better than starving, 
lie had a wife and two children, and I can't 
bear to see any one wont, let alone the yoimg 
ones ; and so, cripple as I was, I set to work 
hero in my bed and made him a large set of 
magic circles. I painted all the figures myself 
in this place, though I had never handled a 
brush before, and that has kept him in bread 
up to tliis time. I did it to cause him to 
exert himself, but now he has got a situation, 
and is doing middling to what he has been : 
there's one thing though, a little money, with 
care, will go farther than a great deal with- 
out it. I shall never be able to get about as 
I used, for you see the knee is set stifi* and the 
thigh-bone is arched with the hip, so that the 
one leg is tlireo inches shorter than the other. 
The bone broke spontaneously, like a bit of 
rotten wood, the other day, while I was rubbing 
my hand down my thigh, and in growing to- 
gether again it got out of straight. I am just 
able to stir about now with a crutch and stick. 
I can sometimes treat myself to a walk about 
the house and yard, but that is not often, and 
last Saturday niglit I did make a struggle to 
get out in the Bcthnal Green-road, and there, 
as I was coming along, my stick tripped against 
a stone and I fell. If it hadn't been for my 
crutch throwing me forward, I might have 
fallen on my new bone and broken it again. 
But as it was, the crutch threw me forward and 
saved me. My doctor tells me my new bone 
would bear a blow, but I shouldn't like to try 
after all I have gone tlirougli. I shall not be 
about again till I get my carriage done, and 
that I intend to construct so as to drive it 
with one hand, by means of a new ratchet 
lever motion." 

The daughter of the toy-maker, with whom 
I spoke afterwards, and who was rather •* good- 
looking," in the hteral sense of the word, than 
beautiful, said that she could not describe how I 
it was that she had learnt to plane and gauge I 



the boards. It seemed to come to her all of 
a sudden >- quite natural-like, she told me ; 
though, she added, it was most likely her 
afiiection for her poor father that made her 
take to it so quick. *' I felt it deeply" she said, 
** to see him take to his bed, and knew that 
I alone could save him from the workhouM. 
No ! I never felt tired over the work," she con- 
tinued, in answer to my questions, " because 
I know that it is to make him comfortable." 

I should add, that I was first taken to tliis 
man by the surgeon who attended him during 
his long sufitering, and that gentleman not only 
ftilly corroborated all I heard from his in- 
genious and heroic patient, but spoke in the 
highest possible terms of Jt>oth father and 
daughter. 

Flies. 

These winged tormentors are not, like most of 
our apterous enemies, calculated to excite dis- 
gust and nausea when we see or speak of 
them; nor do they usually steal upon us 
during the silent hours of repose (though the 
gnat or mosquito must be here excepted), but 
are many of them very beautiful, and boldly 
make their attack upon us in open day, when 
we are best able to defend ourselves. 

The active fly, so frequently an unbidden 
guest at your table (Slouflet, 50), wliosc 
delicate palate selects your choicest viands, at 
one time extending his proboscis to the margin 
of a drop of wine, and then gaily flying to take 
a more solid repast from a pear or a peach— 
now gambolling with his comrades in the air, 
now gracefully carrying his furled wings "with 
his taper feet — ^was but the other dny a ilis- 
gusting grub, without wmgs, without legs, 
without eyes, wallowing, well pleased, in the 
midst of a mass of excrement. 

"The common house-fly," says Kirby, "is 
with us sufficiently annoying at the close of 
simimer, so as to have led the celebrated Italian 
Ugo Foscolo, when residing here, to call it one 
of the * three miseries of bfe.' " But we know 
nothing of it as a tormentor, compared with 
the inhabitants of southern Eiurope, " I met," 
says Arthur Young, in his interesting Travels 
through F/awce, between Pradelles and Thurjtz, 
" mulberries and flies at the same time. By 
the term/i>«, I mean tliose myriads of them 
which form the most disagreeable circum- 
stances of the southern climates. They are 
the first torments in Spain, Italy, and the olive 
district of France; it is not that they bite, 
sting, or hurt, but they buzz, teaze, and worrj' ; 
your mouth, eyes, ears, and nose are full of 
them: they swarm on every eatable — fruit, 
sugar, everything is attacked by them in such 
myriads, that if they are not incessantly driven 
away by a person who has nothing else to do, 
to eat a meal is impossible. They are, ho^v- 
ever, caught on prepared pai>er, and other 
contrivances, with so much ease and in such 
quantities, that were it not for negligence thoy 




JACK BLACK, HER MAJESTY'S RATCATCHER. 



?M!»^V. ^ 



LOKDOlf LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



25 



ooiild not abonnd in iiieli mcredible quantities. 
If I farmed in these countnes, I should manure 
four or ftre acres eyefyjear with dead flies. I 
have been much surprised that the learned 
Mr. Harmer should think it odd to find, by 
writers who treated of southern climates, that 
driving awaj flies was of importance. Had he 
been with me in Spain and in Languedoc in July 
and August, he would have been very far from 
thinking there was anything odd in it." — 
i^Yomnfi TrmeU im France, L 208.) 

It is a remarkable, and, as yet, unexplained 
fact, that if nets of thread or string, with 
meshes a full inch square, be stretehnl orer 
the open windows of a room in summer or 
autumn, when flies are the greatest nuisance, 
not a single one will venture to enter from 
without ; so that by this simple plan, a house 
may be kept free from these pests, while the 
aJjoining ones which have not had nets applied 
to their windows will swarm with them. In 
order, however, that the protection should be 
eflident, it is neoessarv that the rooms to 
which it is applied should have the hght enter 
by one side only; for in those which have a 
thorough light, the flies, strange to say, pass 
tliroagh the meshes without scruple. 

For a Ailler account of these singular facts, 
the reader is referred to a paper by W. Spence, 
in Trans, Bnt. Soe, vol. i. p. J, and also to one 
in the same work by the Bev. £. Stanley, late 
Lord Bishop of Norwieh, who, having made 
some of the experiments suggested by Mr. 
Spence, found that by extending over the out. 
side of his windows nets of a very fine pack- 
thread, with meshes one inch and a quarter to 
the square, so fine and comparatively invisible 
that there was no apparent diminution either 
of Ught or the distant view, he waa enabled 
for the remainder of the summer and autumn 
to enjoy the fresh air with open windows, 
without the annoyance he had previously ex- 
perienced from the intrusion of flies— often so 
troublesome that he was obliged on the hottest 
days to forego the luxury of admitting the air 
by even partially raising the sashes. 

" But no sooner," he observes, " had I set 
my nets than I was relieved frt)m my disagree- 
able visitors. I could perceive and hear them 
hovering on the other side of my barriers ; but 
though they now and then settled on the 
meshes, I do not recollect a single instance of 
one venturing to cross the boundary." 

'*Thenumberof house.flies,''he adds, ''might 
be gTMtly lessened in large towns, if the stable- 
dung in which their larvn are chiefly supposed 
to feed were kept in pits closed by trap-doors, 
so that the females could not deposit their 
eggs in it. At Venice, where no horses axe 
kept, it is said there are no house-flies; a 
statement which I regret not having heard 
before being there, that I mig^t have inquired 
as to ite truth.- — {Kirby and SpeneeTi EnUm, 
L 102, 8.) 

This short account of flies would be ineom-, 
plete without a desoxiption of their mode of 



proeeeding when they regale themselves upon 
a piece of loaf-sugar, and an account of the 
apparatus with which the Creator haa furnished 
them in order to enable them to walk on 
bodies possenung smooth surfaces, and in any 
position. 

" It is aremark* which will be found to hold 
good, both in animals and vegetables, that no 
impcnrtant motion or feeling can take place 
without the presence of moisture. In man, 
the part of the eye which is the seat of vision 
is always bedewed with moisture ; the skin is 
softened with a delicate oil ; the sensitive port 
of the ear is filled with a liquid; but moisture 
is still more abundant in our organs of taste 
and smell than in any of the other senses. In 
the case of taste, moisture is supplied to oiur 
mouth and tongue from sevend reservoirs 
(glands) in their neighbourhood, whence pipes 
are laid aod run to the mouth. The whole 
surface, indeed, of the mouth and tongue, as 
well as the other internal parts of our body, 
give out more or less moisture; but besides 
this, the month, aa we have just mentioned, 
has a number of fountains expressly for its own 
use. The largest of these fountains lies as 
fSur o£f aa the ear on each side, and is formed 
of a great number of round, soft bodies, abottt 
the size of garden-peas, from each of which a 
pipe goes out, and all ofthese uniting together, 
form a common channel on each side. This 
runs across the cheek, nearly in a line with the 
lap of the ear and the comer of the mouth, and 
enters the mouth opposite to the second or 
third of the double teeth {molares) by a hole, 
into which a hog's bristle can be introduced. 
There are, besides, several other pairs of foun- 
tains, in different parts adj scent, for a similar 
purpose. 

*' We have been thus particular in our de- 
scription, in order to Illustrate an analogous 
structure in insects, for they also seem to be 
famished with solivsry fountains for moisten- 
ing their organs of taste. One of the circum- 
stances that first awakened our curiosity with 
regard to insects, was the manner in which a 
fly contrives to suck up through its narrow 
sucker {hauMtellum) a bit of dry lump-sugor ; 
for the small ciystals are not only unfitted to 
pass, from their angularity, but adhere too 
firmly together to be separated by any force 
the insect can exert. Eager to solve tlie diffi- 
culty, for there could be no doubt of the fly's 
sucking the dry sugar, we watched its proceed- 
ings with no httle attention ; but it was not 
till we fell upon the device of placing some 
sugar on the outside of a window, while we 
looked through a magnifying-glass on the in- 
side, that we had the satisfaction of repeatedly 
witnessing a fly let fall a drop of fluid upon 
the sugar, in order to melt it, and thereby 
render it fit to be sucked up ; on precisely the 
same principle that we moisten with saliva, in 
the process of mastication, a mouthful of dry 

• ''Insoct UlKMlUntet," p. U. 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR, 



bread, to fit it for bein^ swallowed— tlie action 
of the jaws, by a beautiftd eontrivance of Pro- 
vidence, preparing the moistore along the 
channds at the time it is most wanted. 
Readers who may be disposed to think the 
circumstance of the fly thus moistening a bit 
of sngar fandM, may readily verify the fact 
themselves in the wi^ we have described. At 
the time when we made this little experiment, 
we were not aware that several natmralists of 
high authority had actaally discovered by dis- 
section the vessels which supply the saliva in 
more than one species of insect." 

"In the case of their drinking fluids, like 
water, saliva is not wanted; and it may be 
remarked, when we drink cold water it ac- 
tuaUy astringes and shuts up the openings of 
the salivary pipes. Hence it is that drinking 
does not quench thirst when the saliva is 
rendered viscid and scanty by heat, by fatigue, 
or by tlie use of stimulant food and liquor ; 
and sometimes a draught of cold water, by 
carrying off all the saliva from the mouth, and 
at the same time astringing the orifices of the 
ducts, may actually produce thirst. Ices pro- 
duce this effect on many persons. It is, no 
doubt, in consequence of their laborious ex- 
ertions, as well as of the hot nature of their 
add fluids producing similar effects, that ants 
are so fond of water. We have seen one quaff* 
a drop of dew almost as large as its whole 
body ; and when we present those in our glass 
formicaries with water, they seem quite in- 
satiable in drinking it."* 

Bennie, in his Imect AfisceUanie», after de- 
scribing the pedestrian contrivances with which 
various insects are furnished, says,f — "The 
most pericct contrivance of tliis land, however, 
occurs in the domestic fly (Mutca domettica), 
and its congeners, as well as in several other 
insects. Few can have failed to remark that 
flies walk with the utmost ease along the 
ceiling of a room, and no less so upon a per- 
pendicular looking-glass ; and though this 
were turned downwards, the flies would not 
fall ofi^ but could maintain their position 
undisturbed wtth their backs hanging down- 
wards. The coxvjectures devised by naturalists 
to account for this singular circumstance, 
previous to the ascertaining of the actual 
facts, are not a little amusing. * Some sup- 
pose,' says the Abb4 de la Pluche, * that when 
the fly marches over any polished body, on 
which neither its daws nor its points can 
fasten, it sometimes compresses her sponge 
and causes it to evacuate a fluid, which fixes 
it in such a manner as prevents its falling 
without diminishing the facility of its pro- 
gress ; but it is much more probable that the 
sponges correspond with the fleshy balls which 
accompany the daws of dogs and cats, and 
that they enable the fly to proceed with a 
softer pace, and contribute to tne presen-ation 
of the claws, whose pointed extremities would 

• " Inacct Miscellanies, " p. 38. t Ibid. p. 868. 



soon be impaired without this prevention.* 
{Sped, de la Nat. vol. i. p. 116.) * lu ability 
to walk on glass,' says S. Shaw, * proceeds 
paftly from some little ruggedness thereon, 
but chiefly from a tarnish, or dirty, smoky 
substance, adhering to the surface; so that, 
though the shaip points on the sponges can- 
not penetrate the surface of the glass, it may 
easily catch hold of the tarnish.' {Nature 
DispL vol. iiL p. 98, Lond. 1823.) But," adds 
Bennie, *'it is singular tbat none of these 
fanders ever took the trouble to ascertain the 
existence of either a gluten squeezed out by 
the fly, or of the smoky tarnish on glass. Kveu 
the shrewd lUaumur could not give a satis- 
factory explanation of the circumstance.*' 

** The eariiest correct notion on this curious 
subject was entertained by Derham, who, in 
mentioning the provision made for insects that 
hang on smooth surfaces, says, * I might here 
name divers flies and other insects who, besides 
their sharp-hooked nails, have also skinny 
palms to their feet, to enable them to stick to 
glass and other smooth bodies by means of 
the pressure of the atmosphere — after tlie 
manner as I have seen boys carry heavy stones 
with only a wet piece of leather clapped on 
the top of the stone.' {Phy*ico.Thcology^ vol. 
ii. p. 194, note ft, 11th edit.) The justly- 
celebrated Mr. White, of Selbornc, apparently 
without the aid of microscopical investigation, 
adopted Derham's opinion, adding the in- 
teresting illustration, that in the decline of 
the year, when the flies crowd to windows and 
become sluggish and torpid, they are scarcely 
able to lift their legs, which seem glued to the 
glass, where many actually stick till they die ; 
whereas they are, during warm weather, so 
brisk and alert, that they easily overcome the 
pressure of the atmosphere.'* — {Nat, Hi$t. of 
Selbamef vol. ii. p. 274. ) 

" This singular mechanism, however," con- 
tinues Bennie, "is not peculiar to flies, for 
some animals a hundred times as large can 
walk upon glass by the same means." St. 
Pierre mentions <* a very small lizard, about a 
finger's length, which cUmbs along the walls, 
and even along glass, in pursuit of flies and 
other insects " ( Voyage to the Isle of France, 
p. 73) ; and Sir Joseph Banks noticed another 
lizard, named the Gecko {Lacerta Oecha,'Lniv.\ 
which could walk against gravity, and which 
made him desirous of having the subject 
thoroughly investigated. On mentioning it 
to Sir Everard Home, he and Mr. Bauer 
commenced a series of researches, by which 
they proved incontrovertibly, that in climbing 
upon glass, and walking idong the ceilings 
with the back downwards, a vacuum is pro- 
duced by a particular apparatus in the feet, 
sufficient to cause atmospheric pressure upon 
their exterior surface. 

" The apparatus in the feet of the fly con- 
sists of two or three membranous suckers, 
connected with the last joint dt the foot by a 
narrow neck, of a funnel-shai>e, immediately 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



27 



under the base of each jaw, and moyable in 
all directions. These suckers are convex 
aboTe and hollow below, the edges being 
margined with minute serratures, and the 
hollow portion covered with down. In order 
to produce the vacuum and the pressure, these 
membranes are separated and expanded, andi 
when the fly is about to lift its foot, it brings 
them together, and folds them up, as it were, 
between the two claws. By means of a com- 
mon microscope, these interesting movements 
may be observed when a fly is confined in a 
wine-glass." {Phil, Tram, for 1816, p. 825.) 

"It must have attracted the attention of the 
most incurious to see, during the summer, 
swarms of flies crowding about the droppings of 
cattle, so as almost to conceal the nuisance, 
and presenting instead a display of their 
shining corslets and twinkling wings. The 
object of all this busy bustle is to deposit their 
eggs where their prt^eny may find abundant 
food ; and the final cause is obviously both to 
remove the nuisance, and to provide abundant 
food for birds and other animals which prey 
upon flies or their larvs. 

*'The same remarks apply with no less force 
to the * blow-flies,' which deposit their eggs, and 
in some cases their young, upon carcases. The 
common house fly (the female of which gene- 
rally lays 144 eggs) belongs to the first division, 
the natural food of its larvss being horse-dung ; 
consequently, it is always most abundant in 
houses in the vicinity of stables, cucumber- 
beds, &c, to which, when its numbers become 
annoying, attention should be primarily di- 
rected, rather than having recourse to fly- 
waters." — (Bekvis's Insect Miscellany, p. 205.) 
Besides the common house-fly, and the other 
genera of the dipterous order of insects, there 
is another not unfrequent intruding visitor of 
the fly kind which we must not omit to men- 
tion, commonly known as the blue-bottle 
{Musca vomitoria, Linn.). The disgust with 
which these insects are generally viewed will 
perhaps be diminished when our readers are 
informed that they are destined to perform a 
very important part in the economy of nature. 
Amongst a number of the insect tribe whose 
office it is to remove nuisances the most dis- 
gusting to the eye, and the most offensive to 
the smell, the varieties of the blue-bottle fly 
belong to the most useful. 

" When the dead carcases of animals begin 
to grow putrid, every one knows what dreadful 
miasmata exhale from them, and taint the air 
we breathe. But no sooner does life depart 
from the body of any creature — at least from 
any which, from its size, is likely to become a 
nuisance — than myriads of different sorts of 
insects attack it, and in various ways. First 
come the histert, and pierce the skin. Next 
follow Che Jtesh'jUies, covering it with millions 
of eggs, whence in a day or two proceed in- 
numerable devourers. An idea of the despatch 
made by these gourmands may be gained from 
the oomhined consideration of their numbers, 



voracity, and rapid development. The larvaa 
of many flesh-£Qes, as Bedi ascertained, will in 
twenty-four hours devour so much food, and 
gnaw so quickly, as to increase their weight 
two hundred-fold I In five days after bemg 
hatched they arrive at their full growth and 
size, which is a remarkable instance of the care 
of Providence in fitting them for the part they 
are destined to act ; for if a longer time was 
required for their growth, their food would not 
be a fit aliment for them, or they would be 
too long in removing the nuisance it is given 
them to dissipate. Thus we see there was 
some ground for linnseus's assertion, under 
Musca vomitoria, that three of these flies will 
devour a dead horse as quickly as would a 
lion." — (KmBY and Spence, i.) 

The following extraordinary fact, given by 
Kirby and Spence, concerning the voracity of 
the larvae of Uie blow-fly, or blue-bottle {Musca 
vomitoria)y is worth wMe appending : — 

" On Thursday, June 25th, died at As- 
bomby, Lincolnshire, John Page, a pauper 
belonging to Silk-Willoughby, under circum- 
stances truly singular. He being of a rest- 
less disposition, and not choosing to stay in 
the parish workhouse, was in the habit of 
strolling about the neighbouring rillages, sub- 
sisting on the pittsmce obtained from door to 
door. The support he usually received from 
the benevolent was bread and meat ; and after 
satisfying the cravings of nature, it was his 
custom to deposit the surplus provision, par- 
ticularly the meat, between his shirt and skin. 
Having a considerable portion of this provision 
in store, so deposited, he was taken rather 
unweU, and laid himself down in a field in 
the parish of Stredington; when, from the 
heat of the season at that time, the meat 
speedily became putrid, and was of course 
struck by the flies. These not only proceeded 
to devour the inanimate pieces of flesh, but 
also literally to prey upon the living substance; 
and when the wretched man was accidentally 
found by some of the inhabitants, he was so 
eaten by the maggots, that his death seemed 
inevitable. After clearing away, ag well as 
they were able, these shocking vermin, those 
who found Page conveyed him to Asbomby, 
and a surgeon was immediately procured, who 
declared that his body was in such a state that 
dressing it must be little short of instantaneous 
death ; and, in fact, the man did survive the 
operation but for a few hours. When first 
found, and again when examined by the sur- 
geon, he presented a sight loathsome in the 
extreme. White maggots of enormous size 
were crawling in and upon his body, which 
they had most shockingly mangled, and the 
removal of the external ones served only to 
render the sight more horrid." Kirby adds, 
" In passing through this parish last spring, I 
inquired of the maU-coachman whether he had 
heard this story ; and he said the fact was well 
known." 
I One species of fly infests our houses 



80 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



*' When it's a bad time for silling the papers, 
such OS a wet, could day, then most of the fly- 
paper boys goes out with brushes, cleaning 
boots. Most of the boys is now out hopping. 
They goes reglar every year after the sason is 
give over for tlies. 

**The stuff as they puts on the paper is 
made out of boiled oil and turpentine and resin. 
It's seldom as a fly lives more tlian five 
minutes after it gets on the paper, and tlien 
it's as dead as a house. The blue-bottles is 
tougher, but they don't last long, though they 
keeps on fizzing as if they was tiding to make 
a hole in the paper. The stuff is only p'isonons 
for flies, though I never heard of any body as 
ever eat a fly-paper." 

The second lad I chose ftrom nmong the 
group of applicants was of a middle age, and 
although the noisiest when among his com- 
panions, had no sooner entered the room with 
me, than his whole manner changed. He sat 
himself down, bent u^ like a monkey, and 
flcarcely ever turned his eyes Arom me. He 
seemed as nervous as if in a witness-box, and 
kept playing with his grubby fingers till he 
had almost made them white. 

** They calls me * Curley.' I come from 
Ireland too. I'm about fourteen year, and have 
been in this line now, sir, about five year. I 
goes about the borders of the country. We 
general takes up the line about the beginning 
of June, that is, when we gets a good summer. 
When we gets a good close dull day like this, 
we does pretty well, but when we has first one 
day hot, and then another rainy and could, a' 
coiurse we don't get on so well. 

•* The most I sould was one day when I went 
to Uxbridge, and then I sould a gross and a half. 
I paid half-a-crown a gross for them. I was 
living with mother then, and she give me 
the money to buy 'em, but I had to bring lier 
back again all as I took. I al'us give her all 
I makes, except sixpence as I wants for my 
dinner, which is a kipplo of pen'orth of bread 
and cheese and a pint of beer. I sould that 
gross and a Iialf I spoke on at a ha'penny each, 
and I took nine shillings, so that I mside five 
and sixpence. But Uien I'd to leave London 
at three or four o'clock in the morning, and to 
stop out till twelve o'clock at night I used 
to live out at Hammersmith then, and come 
up to St. Giles's every morning and buy the 
papers. I had to rise by half-past two in the 
morning, and I'd get back again to Hammer- 
smith by about six o'clock. I couldn't sill 
none on the road, 'cos the shops wasn't open. 
"The flies is getting bad everj' summer. 
This year they a'n't half so good as they was 
last year or the year before. I'm sure I dont 
know why there aint so many, but they aintso 
plentiful like. The best year was three year 
ago. I know that by the quantity as my cus- 
tomers bought of me, and in three days the 
papers was swarmed with flies. 

" I've got regular customers, where I calls 
two or three times a week to 'em. If I was to 



walk my rounds over I could at the lowest sell 
from six to eight dozen at ha'penny each at 
wonst If it was nice wither, like to-day, so tliat 
it wouldn't come wet on me, I sliould make ten 
shillings a- week regular, but it depends on the 
wither. If I was to put my profits by, I'm 
siure I should find I make more than six 
shillings a- week, and nearer eight. But the 
season is only for three months at most, and 
then we takes to boot-cleaning. Near all the 
poor boys about here is fly-paper silling in the 
hot weather, and boot-cleaners at other times. 
" Shops buys the most of us in London. In 
Bamet I sell sometimes as much as six or 
seven dozen to some of the grocers as buys to 
sell again, but I don't let them have them only 
when I can't get rid of 'em to t'other customers. 
Butchers is very fond of the papers, to catch 
the blue-bottles as gets in their moat, though 
there is a few butchers as have said to me, 
* Oh, go away, they draws the flics more than 
they ketches 'em.' Clothes-shops, again, is 
very fond of 'em. I can't tell why they is fond 
of 'em, but I suppose 'cos the flies spots the 
goods. 

" There's lots of boys going silling * ketch 
'em alive oh's' from Golden-lane, and White- 
chapel, and the Borough. There's lots, too, 
comes out of Gray's-iim-lane and St. Giles's. 
Near every boy who has nothing to do goes 
out with fly-papers. Perhaps it aint that the 
flies is failed off that we don't sill so many 
papers now, but because there's so many boys 
at it." 

The most intelligent and the most gentle in 
his demeanour was a little boy, who was 
scarcely tall enough to look on the table at 
which I was writing. If his face had been 
washed, he would have been a pretty-looking 
lad ; for, despite tlie black marks made by his 
knuckles during his last fit of cr}-ing, he had 
large expressive eyes, and his featiunes were 
round and plump, as though he were accus- 
tomed to more food than his companions. ^ 

Whilst taking his statement I was inter- 
rupted by the entrance of a woman, whose 
fears had been aroused by the idea that I 
belonged to the Ragged School, and had come 
to look after the scholars. '* It's no good 
you're coming here for him, he's off hopping 
to-morrow with his mother, as has asked me 
to look after him, and it's only your saxpence 
he's wanting." 

It was with great difficulty that I could get 
rid of this lady's company; and, indeed, so 
great appeared to be the fear in the court that 
Uie object of my visit was to prevent the young 
gentlemen iroxn making their harvest trip into 
^e coimtry,- that a murmuring crowd began 
to assemble round the house where I was, 
determined to oppose me by force, should I 
leave the premises accompanied by any of the 
youths. 

*' I've been longer at it than that last boy, 
though I'm only getting on for thirteeif, and 
he's older than I'm; 'oos I'm little and he'i 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



81 



big* getting a man. But I can sell them quite 
as w^ as he can, and sometimes better, for 
I can holler out just as loud, and I've got 
reg'lar places to go to. I was a very little 
fellow when I first went out with them, but I 
could sell them pretty well then, sometimes 
three or four dozen a^daj. I've got one place, 
in a stable, where I can sell a dozen at a time 
to countrypeople. 

^ I calls out in the streets, and I goes into 
the shops, too, and calls out, * Ketch 'em alive, 
ketch 'em alive ; ketch all the nasty black- 
beetles, blue -bottles, and flies; ketch 'em from 
teazing the baby's eyes.' That's what most 
oi us boys cries out Some boys who is stupid 
only says, * Ketch 'em alive,' but people don't 
buy so well from them. 

" Up in St Giles's there is a lot of fly-boys, 
but they're a bad set, and wUl fling mud at 
gentlemen, and some prigs the gentlemen's 
pockets. Sometimes, if I sells more than a 
big boy, hell get mad and hit me. He'll 
tell me to give him a halfpenny and he won't 
touch me, and that if I don't hell kill mo. 
Some of die boys takes an open fly-paper, and 
makes me look another way, and then they 
sticks the ketch 'em alive on my face. The 
stuff won't come off without soap and hot 
water, and it goes black, and looks like mud. 
One day a boy had a broken fly.paper, and I 
was talung a drink of water, and he come be- 
hind me and slapped it up in my face. A 
gentleman as saw him give him a crack with 
a stick and me twopence. It takes yoiur 
breath away, until a man comes and takes it 
off. It all sticked to my hair, and I couldn't 
rack (comb) right for some time. 

** When we are selling papers we have to 
walk a long way. Some boys go as for as 
Croydon, and all about the countr}'; but I 
don't go mueh further than Copenhagen-fields, 
and straight down that way. I don't like 
going along with other boys, they take yoiu* 
customers away ; for perhaps they'll sell 'em 
at three a-pennj to 'em, and spoil the cus- 
tomers for you. I won't go with the )>ig boy 
you saw 'cos he's such a blackgeyard ; when 
he's in the country hell go up to a lady and 
say, * Want a fly-paper, marm ? ' and if she 
says ' No,' hell perhaps job his head in her 
face— butt at her like. 

** When there's no flies, and tlie ketch 'em 
alive's is out then I goes tumbling. I can 
torn a cat'enwheel over on one hand. I'm 
going to-morrow to the country, harvesting 
and hopping — for, as we says, ' Go out hop- 
ping, come in jumping.' We start at three 
o'cioek to-morrow, and we shall get about 
twdve o'clock at night at Dead Man's Bam. 
It was left for poor people to sleep in, and 
a man there was buried in a comer. The 
man had got six farms of hops ; and if his 
son hadn't buried him there, he wouldn't have 
bad none of the riches. 

** The greatest number of fly-papers I've 
•old in a day is about eight dozen. I never 



sells no more than that; I wish I could. 
People won't buy 'em now. WTien I'm at it 
I makes, taking one day with another, about 
ten shilling a- week. You see, if I sold eight 
dozen, Td make four shillings. I sell them 
at a penny each, at two for three-ha'pence, 
and Uiree for twopence. When they get.s 
stale I sells 'em at three a-penny. I always 
begin by asking a penny each, and perhaps 
they'll say, * Give me two for three-ha'pence.' 
m say, ' Can't, ma'am,' and then they pulls 
out a purse full of money and gives a penny. 

** The police is very kind to us, and don't 
interfere with us. If they sees another boy 
hitting us theyll take off their belts and hit 
*em. Sometimes I've sold a ketch 'em alive 
to a policeman ; hell fold it up and put it in 
his pocket to take home with him. Perhaps 
he's got a kid, and the flies teazes its eyes. 

" Some ladies like to buy fly-cages better 
than ketch 'em alive's, because sometimes 
when they're putting 'em up they falls in their 
faces, and then they screams." 



The Fly-paper Makep.. 

In a small attic-room, in a house near Drury- 
lane, I found the *' catch 'em alive " manufac- 
turer and his family busy at their trade. 

Directly I entered the house where I Imd 
been told he lodged, I knew that I had come 
to the right address ; for the staircase smelt 
of tui-pontine as if it had been newly painted, 
the odour growing more and more powerful 
as I ascended. 

The little room where the man and his 
family worked was as hot as an oven; for 
although it was in tlie heat of summer, still 
his occupation forced him to have a tire 
burning for the piUT^ose of melting and 
keeping fluid the different ingredients he 
spread upon his papers. 

When I opened the door of his room, I was 
at first puzzled to know how I should enter 
the apartment ; for the ceiling was completely 
hidden by the papers which had been hung 
up to dry from the many strings stretched 
across the place, so that it resembled a washer- 
woman's back-yard, with some thousands of red 
pocket-handkerchiefs suspended in the air. 
I could see the legs of the manufacturer 
walking about at tlie fuilher end, but the 
other part of his body was hidden from me. 

On his cr3ing, "Come in ! " I had to duck 
my head down, and creep under the forest of 
paper strips rustling above us. 

The most curious characteristic of the apai-t- 
ment was the red colour with which every- 
thing was stained. The walls, floor, and 
tables wero all smeared with ochre, like the 
pockets of a drover. The papers that were 
drjing were as red as the pages of a gold-leaf 
book. This curious appearance was owing 
to part of the process of "catch 'em ali%e" 
making consisting in first covering tlie paper 



i 



(» 



LOffDOiT lABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



-with coloured sixe, to ^rent the sticky solu- 
tion from sosking iato it. 

The room was so poorly fiiniished, that it 
was evident the trade was not a lacrative one. 
An old Dntch clock, with a pendninm as long 
as a walking-stickf was the only thing in the 
dwelling which was not indispensable to the 
calling. The chimneypiece — that test of 
** well-to-do •* in the houses of the poorer 
classes — had not a single ornament npon it. 
' The long board on which the family worked 
serred likewise as the table for the family 
meals, and the food they ate had to be laid 
upon the red-smeared surface. There was 
but one chair, and that the wife occupied; 
and when the father or son wished to sit 
down, a tub of size was drawn out with its 
trembling contents ftom under the work- 
table, and on this they rested themselves. 

**We are called in the trade," said the 
father, •* fly-paper makers. They used to put 
a nice name to the things once, and call 'em 
Egyptian fly-papers, but now they use merely 
the word * fly-papers,' or * fly-destroyers,' or 
* fly-catchers,' or * catch 'em alive, oh.* 

" I never made any calculation about flies, 
and how often they breeds. You see, it 
depends upon so many things how they're 
produced: for instance, if I was to put my 
papers on a dung-heap, I might catch some 
thousands ; and if I was to put a paper in an 
ice-well, I don't suppose I should catch one. 

** I know the flies produce some thousands 
each, because if you look at a paper well 
studded over with flies, you'll see — that is, if 
you look very carefully — where each fly has 
blown, as we call it, there'll be some millions 
on a paper, small grubs or little mites, like ; 
for whilst struggling the fly shoots forth the 
blows, and eventually these blows would turn 
to flies. 

•* I have been at fly-catcher making for the 
last nine years. It's almost impossible to 
make any calculation as to the number of 
papers I make during the season, and this is 
the season. If it's fine weather, then flies 
are plentiful, cmd the lads who sell the papers 
in the streets keep me busy ; but if it's at all 
bad weather, then they turn their attention 
to blacking boots. 

"It's quite a speculation, my business is, 
for all depends upon the lads coming to me to 
huy, and there's no certainty beyond. I every 
season expect that these lads who bought 
papers of me the last year will come back and 
deal with me again. First of all, these lads 
will come for a dozen, or a kipple of dozen, of 
papers; and so it goes on till perhaps they 
are able to sell half a gross aday, and then 
from that they will, if the weather is fine, get 
up to ten dozen, or perhaps a gross, but 
seldom or never over that. 

" In tho very busiest and hottest time as is, 
I have, for about two or three weeks, made as i 
many as thirty-six gross of papers in a week. 
Wo generally begins about the end of June or I 



the beginning of July, and then for five or 
six weeks we goes on very busy ; after that it 
dies out, and people gets tired of laying out 
their money. 

"It's almost impossible to get at any eal- 
culation of the quantity I make. You see, to- 
day I haven't sold a gross, and yesterday I 
didn't sell more than a gross; and the last 
three days I haven't sold a single paper, it's 
been so wet. But last week I sold more than 
five gross a-day, — it varies so. Oh yes, I 
sell more than a hundred gross during the 
season. Yon may say, that for a month I 
make about five gross a-day, and that — taking 
six days to the week, and thirty days to the 
month — makes a hundred and thirty gross: 
and then for another month I do about three 
gross a-day, and that, at the same calculation, 
makes seventy-eight gross, or altogether one 
hundred and ninety-eight gross, or 28,512 
single papers, and that is as near as I can 
teU you. 

"Sometimes our season lasts more than 
two months. You may reckon it from the 
latter end of June to the end of August, or if 
the weather is very hot, then wo begins early 
in June, and runs it into September. The 
prime time is when the flies gets heavy and 
stings — that's when the papers sells most. 

"There's others in tlie business besides 
myself; they lives up in St. Giles's, and they 
sells 'em rather cheaper. At one time the 
shopkeepers used to make the papers. When 
they first commenced, they was sold at two- 
pence and threepence and fourpence a-piece, 
but now they're down to three a-penny in the 
streets, or a halfpenny for a single one. The 
boys when they've got back the money they 
paid me for their stock, will sell what papers 
they have left at onything they'll fetch, be- 
cause the papers gets dusty and spiles with 
the dust. 

" I use the ver>' best * Times ' paper for my 
* catch 'em alives.' I gets them kept for me 
at stationers' shops and liberaries, and such- 
like. I pays threepence a-pound, or twenty- 
eight shillings the hundred weight. That's a 
long price, but you must have good paper if 
you want to make a good article. I could get 
paper at twopence a-pound, but then it's only 
tho cheap Sunday papers, and they're too 
slight. 

"The morning papers are the best, and will 
stand the pulling in opening the papers ; for 
we always fold the destroyers with the sticky 
sides together when finished. The composi- 
tion I use is very stiff; if the paper is bad, 
they tear when you force them open for use. 
Some in the trade cut up their newspapers 
into twelve for the full sheet, but I cut mine 
up into only eight. 

" The process is this. First of all the paper 
is sized and coloured. We colour them by 
putting a little red lead into the size, because 
if the sticky side is not made apparent the 
people wont buy 'em, 'cause they might spile 



LONDON^ LABOUR AND THE LOSDOlt POOn. 



88 



the fhmitnK by pntthig the composition side 
dovntrards. After sizing the papers, they are 
hung np to dry, and then the compo<^ition is 
laid on. This eomposiUon is a secret, and 
I*in obligated to keep it so, for of conrsc all 
the boys who come here would be tiyinj^ to 
make em, and not only would it iigore me, 
bm I'd warrant they'd izgure theirseWes as 
well, by setting the house on fire. You may 
say that my c-omposition is made from a mix- 
tion of rcffinous substances. Everything in 
making it depends upon using the proper pro- 
portions. There's some men who deal with 
tae who know the substances to make the 
composition firom, but because they haven't 
got the eiAct proportions of the quantities, 
they can*t make it right. 

'*The great difSeul^ in making them is 
diying the papeis after they are sized. Some 
di^s irhen it':9 fine they'll dry as fast as you 
can hang 'em up almost, and other days they 
▼out ilry at all — in damp weather 'specially. 
There Is some makers who sizes and colours 
their ]iflpers in the winter, and then puts 'em 
to diy ; and when the summer comes, then 
they has only to put on the composition. 

" rm a veiy quick hand in the trade (if you 
can eon it one, for it only lasts three mimths 
at most, and is a very nncertain one, too ; in- 
deed, I don't know what you can style our 
lu«ines3 — it ain't a purfeitsion and it ain't a 
trade, I supposo it*s a calling) : Pm a quick 
hand I say at roreading the composition, and 
I can, talong the day throngli, do about two 
gross an hour —that is, if the papers was sized 
ready for me ; but as it Is, ha\ing to size 'em 
first, I cant do more than three gross a-day 
myself, but with my wife helping me we can 
do such a thin^ as five gross a-day. 

** It's most important that the size should 
diy. Now tho2>e papers (producing some 
covered with a dead red touting of the size 
preparation) have been done four days, and 
yet they're not dry, although to you they ap- 
pear so' but I can tell that they feel tough, 
uid not crisp as they ought to. "When the 
jize is damp it mcdces them adhere to one 
an'.tlier when I am laying the stuft'on, and it 
^TTtiK through and makes them hea\7, and 
then they tears when I opens thom. 

** When Tm working, I first size the entire 
J^heet. We put it on the table, and then we 
La^e a big brush and plaster it over. Then I 
pives it to my wife, and she hangs it up on a 
line. We can hang up a gross at a timo horo, 

i and then the room is pretty fuD, and must 
seem strange to anybody coming in, thouglf to 

I as it's ordinary enough." 

< The man was about to exhibit to us his 
method of proceeding, when his attention was 
drawn off by a smell which the mo\ing of the 

' diflerent pots had caused. " How strong this 
size smells, Charlotte !" he said to his wife. 

** lis the damp and heat of the room does 
ii," the wife replied; and then the narrative 
^ent on. 



"Before putting on the Composition I cut 
up the papers into slips as fast as possiUe^ 
that don't take long." 

" We can out 'em in first style," interrupted 
the wife. 

" I can eut up four gross an hour,** said a 
boy, who was present. 

" I don't think you could, Johnny," said the 
man. ** Two gross is nearer the mark, to cut 
'em evenly." 

"It's only seventy sheets,'' remonstrated 
the lad, " and that's only a little more than 
one a minute." 

A pile of entire newspapers was here 
brought out, and all of them coloured r^d on 
one side, like the leaves of the books in which 
gold-leaf is kept. 

Judging from the trial at cutting which fol* 
lowed, we should conclude that the lad was 
correct in his calculation. 

" When we put on the composition," conti- 
nued the catch-'em -alive maker, " we has the 
cut slips piled up in a tall mound like, and 
then we have a big brush, and dips it in the 
pot of stuff" and rubs it in; we folds each 
catcher up as we does it, like a thin slice of 
bread and butter, and put it down. As I said 
before, at merely putting on tlie composition 
I could do about two gross nn hour. 

" My price to the boys is twoi>ence-halfi)enny 
a dozen, or two-and-sixpcnce a gross, and out 
of that I don't get more than nrnepence 
profit, for the paper, the resin, and the firing 
for melting the size and composition, all takes- 
oflf the profit. 

" This season nearly all my customers have 
been boys. Last season I had a few men who 
dealt with me. The principal of tliose who 
buys of me is Irish. A boy will sometimes 
sell his papers for a halfpenny each, but the 
usual pric^ is tlu*eo a-peuny. Many of the 
blackiug-boys deal with me. If it's a fine day 
it don't suit them at boot-cleaning, and tlieu 
they'll run out with my papers ; and so they 
have two trades to Uieir backs— one for fme, 
and the other for wet weatlier. 

'* Tlie first man as was the inventor of these 
fly-papers kept a barber's shop in St. Andrew- 
street, Seven Dials, of tlie name of Greenwood 
or Greenfinch, I forget which. I expect he 
diskivered it by accident, using vaniish and 
stuff, for stale varnish has nearly the same 
effect as our composition. Ho mado 'em and 
sold 'em at first at threepence and fourpence 
apiece. Then it got down to a penny. He 
sold the receipt to some other parties, and 
then it got out through then* having to employ 
men to help 'em. I worked for a party as 
made 'em, and then I set to work making 
•em for myself, and afterwards liawking them. 
They was a greater novelty then than they are 
now, and sold pretty well. Then men in the 
streets, who had notliing to do, used to ask me 
where I bouglit 'em, and then I used to give 
•em my own address, and they'd come and find 
me," 



Xo. l.VIl. 



\> 



34 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



Of Buo8 and Fleas. 



A NUXESOUB family of a large order of insecto 
is but too well known, botJh in gardens and 
honseff, tinder the general name of Bugs 
{Cimieidm) most, if not all, of the species 
being distinguished by an exceedingly disa- 
greeable smell, particularly when pressed or 
braised. 

The sacking instrument of these insects 
has been so admirably dissected and deli- 
neated by M. Savigny, in his ** Theory of the 
Mouth of Six-legged {hexapod) Insects,*** 
that we cannot do better than follow so excel- 
lent a g^de. 

The sucker is contained in a sheath, and 
this sheath is composed of four pieces, which, 
according to Savigny's theory, represent an 
under-lip much prolonged. The edges bend 
downwards, and form a canal receiving the 
four bristles, which he supposes to correspond 
with the two mandibles and the two lower 
jaws. It is probable that the two middle of 
these bristles act as piercers, while the other 
two, being curved at the extremity (though 
not at all times naturaUy so), assist in the 
process of suction. 

The plant-bugs are all ftimished with 
wings and membranous wing-cases, many of 
them being of considerable size, and decked 
in showy colours. These differ in all those 
points firom their congener, the bed-bug 
{Cimex lectulariui), which is small, without 
wings, and of a dull uniform brown. The 
name is of Welsh origin, being derived firom 
the same root as 6iiy-bear, and hence the pas- 
Bage in the Psalms, "thou shalt not be afraid 
for tKe terror by night," f is rendered in Mat- 
theVs Bible, **thoa shalt Dot nede to be 
afraide of any bugs by night.** 

In earlier times this insect was looked upon 
with no little fear, no doubt because it was not 
so abundant as at present '^In the year 
1503," says Mouffet, ** Dr. Penny was called 
in great haste to a little village called Mort- 
lake, near the Thames, to visit two noblemen 
who were much fiightened by the appearance 
of bug-bites, and were in fear of I know not 
what contagion; but when the matter was 
known, and the insects caujght, he laughed 
them out of all fear."{ This fact, of course, 
disproves the statement of Southall, that bugs 
were not known in England before 1670. 

Linnieus was of opinion, however, that the 
bug was not originally a native of Europe, but 
had been imported from America. Be this as 
it may, it seems to thrive but too well in our 
climate, though it multiplies less in Britain 
than in the warmer regions of the Continent, 
where it is also said to grow to a larger size, 
and to bite more keenly. This insect, it is 
said, is never seen in Ireland.§ 

** Commerce," says a learned entomologist, 
« with many good things, has also introduced 



• "UkA. Anim. nna Vert€br»t" i. M. 
t P«. xcL 5. X '* Theatr. Intect." 270. 



I J.B. 



amongst us many great evils, of which noxious 
insects form no small part; and one of her 
worst presents was, doubtless, the disgusting 
animals called bugs. They seem, indeed,*' 
he adds, '* to have been productive of greater 
alarm at first than misdiief, — at least, if we 
may judge fh)m the change of name which 
took place upon their becoming common. 
Their original English name was ChincKe, or 
WaU-loM»e; and the term bug^ which is a 
Celtic word, signifying a ghost or goblin, was 
applied to them after Ray's time, most pro- 
bably because they were considered as 'terrors 
by night Hence our English word bug-bear. 
The word in this sense often occurs in Shak- 
speare. Winter's TaU, act iii. so. 2, 3 ; Henry FT. 
act V. sc. 2 ; Handet^ act v. sc. 2. See Douce'ff 
Illustrationt of Shakspeare, i, B29r 

Even in our own island these obtrusive in- 
sects often banish sleep. " The night," says 
Goldsmith, in his Animated NaturCy ** is usually 
the season when the wretched have rest firom 
their labour ; but this seems the only season 
when the bug issues from its retreats to make 
its depredations. By day it lurks, like a rob- 
ber, in the most secret parts of the bed, takes 
the advantage of evexy chink and cranny to 
make a secure lodgment, and contrives its 
habitation with so much art that it is no easy 
matter to discover its retreat. It seems to 
avoid the light with great cunning, and even if 
candles be kept burning, this formidable in- 
sect will not issue fi'om its hiding-place. But 
when darkness promises security, it then 
issues from every comer of the bed, drops 
trom the tester, crawls from behind the arras» 
and travels with great assiduity to the un^ 
happy patient, who vainly wishes for rest. It 
is generally vain to destroy one only, as thero: 
are hundieds more to revenge their compa- 
Qion*s fate; so that the person who thus ia 
subject to be bitten (some individuals are ex- 
empt), remains the whole night like a sentinel 
upon duty, rather watching the approach of 
tesh invaders than inviting the pleasing ap- 
proaches of sleep." * 

Mouffet assures us, that against these ene- 
mies of our rest in the night our mercifiil God 
bath furnished us with remedies, which wa 
may fetch out of old and new -writers, either 
to drive them away or kill them.f The fol- 
lowing is given as Uie best poison for bugs, by 
Mr. Brande, of the Boyal Institution: — Re- 
duce on ounce of corrosive sublimate (p^- 
chloride of mercury) and one ounce of white 
arsenic to a fine powder; mix with it one 
ouoee of muriate of ammonia in powder, two 
oimces each of oil of turpentine and yellow 
wax, and eight ounces of olive oil; put all 
these into a pipkin, placed in a pan of boiling 
water, and when the wax is melted, stir the 
whole, till cold, in a mortar .t A strong solu- 
tion of corrosive sublimate, indeed, applied as 
a wash, is a most efficacious bug-poison. 

* Goldsmith's "Animat Natun 
t " Theatr. InMot" X ' 



Nature," iv. IM. 

« Materia Uedioa," Index. 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



35 



Though most people dislike this insect, 
others haye been known to regard it with 
protecting care. One gentleman would never 
snfler the bugs to be disturbed in his house, 
or his bedsteads removed, till, in the end, they 
swarmed to an incredible degree, crawling up 
even the walls of his drawing-room ; and after 
his death millions were found in his bed and 
chamber furniture.* 

In the Banian hospital, at Snrat, the over, 
seers are said ftequently to hire beggars from 
the streets, at a stipulated sum, to pass the 
night among bugs and other vermin, on the 
express condition of suffering them to ei^oy 
Iheir feast without molestation.f 

The bed-bug is not the only one of its con- 
geners which preys upon man. St Pierre 
mentions a bug foimd in the Mauritius, the 
bite of which is more venomous than the sting 
of a scorpion, being succeeded by a swelling 
a3 big as the egg of a pigeon, which continues 
for four or five days.t Bay tells us that his 
friend Willonghby had suffered severe tempo- 
rary pain, in the same way, from a water-bug. 
{Kotoneeia glauca^ Linn.) § 

The winged insects of the order to which 
the bed-bug belongs often inflict very painful 
wounds, and it is even stated, upon good au- 
thority, that an insect of the order, commonly 
known in the West Indies by the name of the 
wtuel-hwfy can communicate an electric shock 
to the person whose flesh it touches. The 
late Major-General Davies, ILA.. (weU known 
as a most accurate observer of nature and 
an indefatigable collector of her treasures, as 
well as a most admirable painter of them), 
hadng taken up this animal and placed it upon 
his hand, assures us that it gave him, with its 
leg«t, a con.siderable shock, as if from an elec- 
trie jar, which he felt as high as his shoulders ; 
and then dropping the creature, he observed 
six marks upon his hand where the six feet 
had stood. 

Bugs are very voracious, and seem to bite 
most furiously in the autumn, as if deter- 
mined to feast themselves before they retire to 
their winter quarters. 

There is another pernicious bed insect — 
the flea {Pulex trntons, Linn.), which, being 
without wings, some of our readers may sup. 
^ose to be nearly allied to the bed-bug, though 
u docs not belong even to the same order, but 
to a new one {Aphanipleray Kibbt), establish, 
ed on the principle that the wings are obsole- 
scent or inoonspicnous. 

Fleas, it may be worth remarking, are not 
an of one species ; those which infest animals 
and birds differing in many particulars from the 
eommon bed-flea {Pulex irrilans). As many 
AS twelve distinct sorts of fleas have been 
hand in Britain alone.|] The most annoying 

* Nicholscm** " Joamal," zrli. 40. 
f Forbea» "Oriental Mem." L 
t "Voyage to the Ma of Franco." 
f "Hirt. Ineect.'* 68. 
I •* luaect Tkanalionnatione,** p. 893. 



species, however, is, fortunately, notindige- 
nous, being a native of the tropical latitudes, 
and variously named in the West Indies, chi- 
goe, jigger, nigua, tungua, and pique {Pulex 
T^entiransy Linn). According to Stedman, " this 
IS a kind of small sand-flea, which gets in be- 
tween the skin and the flesh without being felt, 
and generally under the ntdls of the toes, 
where, while it feeds, it keeps growing till it be- 
comes of the size of a pea, causing no further 
pain thMi a disagreeable itching. In process 
of time its operation appears in the form of a 
small bladder, in which are deposited thou- 
sands of eggs, or nits, and which, if it breaks, 
produce so many young chigoes, which in 
course of time create running ulcers, often of 
very dangerous consequence to the patient. So 
much so, indeed, that I knew a soldier, the 
soles of whose feet were obliged to be cut a-' 
way before he could recover; and some men 
have lost their limbs by amputation, nay, even 
their lives, by having neglected, in time, to 
root out these abominable vermin. Walton 
mentions that a Capuchin friar, in order to 
study the history of the chigoe, permitted a 
colony of them to establish themselves in his 
feet : but before he could accomplish his ob- 
ject his feet mortified and had to be amputa- 
ted.* No wonder that Cardan calls the insect 
" a very shrewd plague."+ 

Several extraordinary feats of strength have 
been recorded of fleas by various authors, J 
and we shall here give our own testimony 
to a similar fact. At the fair of Cliarlton, in 
Kent, 1830, we saw a man exhibit three* 
fleas harnessed to a carriage in the form 
of an onmibus, at least fifty times their 
own bulk, which they pulled along with 
great ease ; another pair drew a chariot. The 
exhibitor showed the whole first through a 
magnifying glass, and then to the naked eye, 
so that we were satisfied there was no decep- 
tion. From the fleas being of large size they 
were evidently all females. § 

It is rarely, however, that we meet with 
fleas in the way of amusement, unless we are 
of the singular humour of the old lady men* 
tioned by Kirby and Spence, who had a liking 
to them ; " because," said she, " I think they 
are the prettiest little merry things in the 
world ; I never saw a dull flea in all my life." 

When Ray and Willoughby were travelling, 
they found " at Venice and Augsburg fleas for 
sale, and at a small price too, decorated with 
steel or silver collars round their necks. When 
fleas are kept in a box amongst wool or cloth, 
in a warm place, and fed once a-day, they wil) 
live a long time. When these insects begin 
to suck they erect themselves almost perpen- 
dicularly, thrusting their sucker, which origi- 
nates in the middle of the forehead, into the 
skin. The itching is not felt immediately, 

• Walton'e "Hiepaniola." 

t ••8ubtnia.'*Ub. ix. 

X " Insect Transformationfl,'* p. 180. 

f Introduotion, i. 102.— J. B. 



ao 



LOXDON LABOUR AXD THE LONDON JPOOB. 



l»ut a litilo nften*'ards. As soon as they are 
llill of blood, they begin to void a portion of 
it ; and thus, if permitted, they will continue 
for many hours sucking and voiding. Aitt r 
the first ia'hing no uneasiness is subsequently 
felL )Vil!oughby had a flaa that lived for 
three months, sucking in this manner the blood 
of his hand; it was at Isngth killed by the 
cold of i^inter." ♦ 

According to Mouffist's account of the suck- 
er of the Ilea, " tlie point of his nib is some- 
what hai'd, tliat he may make it enter the bet- 
ter ; and it must necessarily be hollow, that he 
may suck out the blood and carry it in." + 
Modem authors, particularly Straus and Kir- 
by^ show that Hosel was mistaken in supposing 
this sucker to consist of two pieces, as it is 
reall V made up of seven. First, there is a pair 
of triangular instruments, somewhat resem- 
bhng the beak of a bird, inserted on each side 
of the mouth, under the parts which are gene- 
rally regarded a& tlie antennie. Next, a paii- 
of long slmrp piercers Ucaipell/t, Kiuby), 
which emerge fVom the liead below the preced- 
ing instnnnents; whilst a pair of feelers 
{pafpi), consisting of four joints, is attached 
to the^iA near their base. lu fine, there is a 
long, slender tongue, like a bristle, in the 
middle of these several pieces. 

Mor.tfet says, " the lesser, leaner, and 
younger the llcas are, the sharper they bite, — 
the fut ones being more inclined to tickle and 
play. They molest men that are sleeping,'* he 
a<lds, " and trouble wounded and sick persons, 
fix>ra whom they escape by skipping ; for as 
soon as they find they are an-aigned to die, 
and feel the finger coming, on a sudden they 
are gone, and leap here and there, and s(» es- 
cape the danger ; but so soon as day breaks 
tliey forsake the bed. They then creep into 
the rough blankets, or hide themselves in 
rushes and dust, lying in ambush for pigeons, 
hens, and otlier birds ; also for men and dogs, 
moles and mice, and vex such as pass by. 
Our himters report that foxes are of full 
them, and they tell a pretty story how they 
get quit of them. •* The fox," say they, " ga- 
thers some handfuls of wool firom thorns and 
briers, and wrapping it up, holds it fast in his 
naoutli, then he goes by degrees into a cold 
river, and dips himself down by httle and 
httle; when he finds that all the fleas are 
crept so high as his head for fear of drowning, 
and ultimately for shelter crept into the wool, 
he barks and spits out the wool, full of fleas, 
and thus vei;y froliquely being delivered from 
their moLestations, ne swims to land." J 

' This is a little more doubtfiU even than the 
stoiy told of Cliristina, queen of Sweden, 
who is reported to have fired at the fleas that 
troubled her witli a piece of artillery, still ex- 
hibited in the Boyal ^Vrsenal at Stockholm. § 
Nor are fleas confined to the old continent, for 

• J. R. t " Th«ttro of rnsocta,- p. 1102. 

J *• J ho^tro of Insects" p. 1102. 

I Liiu'juixa, •' Luchcsia Lapau." U. 32, note. 



I Lewis and Clarke found them exceedingly ha- 
I rassing on the banks of the Missouri, where 
it is said the native Indians are sometimes 
compelled to shift their quarters, to escape 
their annoyance. They are not acquainted, it 
would therefore seem, with the device of the 
shepherds in Hungar}', who grease their clothes 
with hog's-Iard to deter the fleas ;* nor with 
the old English preventive : 

'*Whil« wormwood hath s«od, get ahMidAiI or twaine. 
To 8aT« acndnst March, to iuiJcm fleas refraiu. 
Vhere chamber is swopt. aud wormwooU is atrown, 
Ne'or flva for his lifo axtro abidu to be kuowu."! 

LinnR?U8 was in error in stating that the do- 
meslic cat (/V/i« maNicMlatut, Teemxikck) is 
not infested with fleas ; for on kittens in par- 
ticular they abound as numerouslj as upon 
dogs.} 

Hr.a Majesty's Buo-DcsTnoYEr., 

The vending of bug-ix)ison in the London 
streets is seldom followed as a regular source 
of living. We have met with persons who 
remember to have »een men selling penny 
packets of vennin poison, but to find out the 
vendors themselves was next to an impos- 
sibility. The men seem merely to take to 
the business as a living when all otlier sources 
have failed. All, however, agree in acknow- 
ledging that there is such a strcct trade, but 
that the living it aflbrds is so precarious that 
few men stop at it longer than two or three 
weeks. 

l*erhaps the most eminent firm of tlie bug- 
destroyers in London is that of Messrs. Tiflin 
and Son ; but they have pursued tlicir calling 
in the streets, and rejoice in the title of " I3ug- 
Desti'oyers to Her Majesty and tlie lioyal 
Family," 

Mr. TiflBn, the senior partner in this house, 
most kindly obliged mo with the following 
statement. It may be as well to say that Mr. 
Tiffin appears to have paid much attention to 
the subject of bugs, and has studied with much 
earnestness the natural history of this vermin. 
*' Via can trace oin: business back," he said, 
" as far as 1693, when one of our ancestors 
first turned his attention to the destruction of 
bugs. He was a latly's stay-maker — men 
used to make them in those days, though, as 
far as that is concerned, it was a man that 
made my mother's dresses. This ancestor 
fonnd some hugs in his house — a young 
colony of tbem, that had introdneed them- 
selves without his permbsion, and he didn't 
like their company, so he trieid to turn them 
out of doors again, I have heard it snid, in 
various ways. It is in history, and it has 
been handed down in my own family a« well, 
that bugs were first introduced into England 
after the fire of Loudon, in the timber Uiai 

* *' Travels." 

f Tusacr, ** PoiuU of Goods Huabandr;.* 

: J. u. 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



87 



WAS brought fi)r rebuilding the city, tliirty 
jcars sfler the fire, and it was about that time 
that my ancestor firet discovered the colony 
of bugs in his house, I oan't say whether he 
gtadi^ the snbjeet of bug-destroying, or whe- 
ther he found out his stuff by accident, but he 
ee^nly did invent a oompound which com- 
pletely destroyed the bugs, and, having been 
10 successful in his own house, he named it 
to some of his customers who were similarly 
plagued, and that was the commencement of 
the present connexion, which has continued 
up to this time, 

"' At the time of the illumination for the 
Peace, I thought I must have something over 
my shop, that would be both suitable for the 
event and to nfy business ; so I had a trans- 
parency done, and stretched on a big frame, 
and lit up by gas, on which was written — 

MATTB2 

DESTROYERS OF PEACE 

BE DESTROYED BT US. 

TIFFIN k, SON, 
BUG-DESTROYERS TO HER MAJESTY. 

^ Our business was formerly carried on in 
the Strand, where both my father and myself 
were bom ; in fact, I may say I was born to 
the bug business* 

" I remember my father as well as possible ; 
indeed, I worked with him for ten or eleven 
years. He used, when I was a boy, to go out 
to his work killing bugs at his customers* 
houses with a sword by Jus side and a cocked- 
hat and bag- wig on his head — in fact, dressed 
up like a regular dandy. I remember my 
grandmother, too, when she was in the busi- 
ness, going to the different houses, and seat- 
ing herself in a chair, and telling the men 
what they were to do, to clean the furniture 
and wash the woodwork. 

** I have customers in our books for whom 
our house has worked these 100 years ; that is, 
my fiither «nd self have worked for them and 
their fathers. We do the work by contract, 
examining the house every year. It's a pre- 
caution to keep the place comfortable. You 
see, servants are apt to bring bugs in their 
boxes ; and, though there may be only two or 
three buj^ x>erhiip9 hidden in the woodwork 
and the dothet, yet they soon breed if left 
alone* 

** We gmeraUy go hi the spring, before the 
bogs lay their eggs } or, if that time passes, 
it ought to be done before June, before their 
•ggB are hatched, though it's never too late to 
get rid of » nuisance. 

** I mostly find the bugs in the bedsteads. 
But, if they are left unmolested, they get 
nmaeioua and elimb to the tops of the^ooms, 
and about the ooraoB oi the ceilings. They 
eolonixe anywliera they can, though they're 
▼ery higb-imiftded and prefer lofty places. 
Where ircm bedsteads are used the bugs are 
iBora im thm roomtf «Bd that's why sueh things 



are bad. They don't keep a bug away from 
the person sleeping. Bugs '11 come, if they're 
thirty yards off, 

" I knew a case of a bug who used to come 
evexy night about thirty or forty feet — it was 
an immense large room — from a comer of 
the room to visit an old lady. There was only 
one bug, and he'd been there for a long time. 
I was sent for to find bim out. It took me a 
long timo to catch him. In that instance I 
had to examine every part of the room, and 
when I got him I gave him an extra nip to 
serve him out. The reason why I was so 
bothered was, the bug had hidden itself near 
the ^"indow, the last place I should have 
thought of looking for him, for a bug never 
by choice faces the light; but when I came 
to inquire about it, I found that this old lady 
never rose till three o'clock in the day, and 
the window-curtains were always drawn, so 
that there was no light like. 

*' Lord I yes, I am often sent for to catch 
a single bug. I've had to go many, many 
miles — even 100 or 200 — into the conntr}*, 
and perhaps catch only half-a-dozen bugs 
after all; but then that's all that are there, 
so it answers our employer's purpose as well 
as if they were swarming. 

" I work for the upper classes only ; that 
is, for carriage company and such-like ap- 
proaching it, you know. I have noblemen's 
names, the first in England, on my books. 

** ;My work is more- method ; and I may 
call it a scientific treating of the bugs rather 
than wholesale murder. We don't care about 
the thousands, it's the last bug we look for, 
whilst your carpenters and upholsterers leave 
as many behind them, perhaps, as they man- 
age to catch. 

" The bite of the bug is very curious. They 
bite all persons the same(?) but the differ- 
ence of effect lays in the constitution of the 
parties. I've never noticed Uiat a different 
kind of skin makes any difference in being 
bitten. Whether the skin is moist or dry, 
it don't matter. Wherever bugs are, the per- 
son sleeping in the bed is sure to be fed on, 
whether they are marked or not; and as a 
proof, when nobody has slept in the bed for 
8orae time, the bugs become quite fiat; and, 
on the contrary, when the bed is always occu- 
pied, they are round as a * lady-bird.' 

^* The flat bug is more ravenous, though 
even he wiU allow you time to go to sleep before 
he begins with you ; or at least until he thinks 
you ought to be asleep. When they find all 
quiet, not even a light in the room yn\\ prevent 
their biting ; but they are seldom or ever found 
under the bed-clothes. They Uke a clear 
ground to get off, and generally bite round Uie 
edges of the nightcap or the nightdress. When 
they are found in the bed, it's because the 
parties have been tossing about, and have curled 
the sheets round the bugs. 

^ The finest and the fattest bugs I ever saw 
were those I found in a black man's bed^ He 



98 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



WAS the favourite servant of an Indian general. 
He didn't want his bed done by me ; he didn't 
want it touched. His bed was full of 'em, 
no beehive was ever fuller. The walls and all 
were the same, there wasn't a patch that wasn't 
crammed with them. He must have taken 
them all over the house wherever he went 

•* I've known persons to be laid up for 
months through bug-bites. There was a very 
handsome fair young lady I knew once, and 
she was much bitten about the arms, and neck, 
and face, so that her eyes were so swelled up 
she couldn't sec. The spots rose up like blis- 
ters, the same as if stung with a nettle, only 
on a very large scale. The bites were very 
much inflamed, and after a time they had the 
appearance of boiU. 

^^Somo people fancy, and it is historically 
recorded, that tlie bug smells because it has 
no vent ; but this is fabulous, for they have a 
veut It is not the human blood neither that 
makes them smell, because a young bug who 
has never touched a drop ifv-ill smell. They 
breathe, I believe, through tlieir sides ; but I 
can't answer for that, though it's not through 
the head. They haven't g< )t a mouth, but they 
insert into the skin tlie point of a tube, which 
is quite as fine as a hair, through which they 
draw up the blood. I have many a time put a 
bug on the back of my hand, to see how they 
bite ; though I never felt the bite but once, and 
then I suppose the bug had pitched upon a 
very tender part, for "it was a sharp prick, 
something like that of a leech -bite. 

** I once had a case of lice-killing, for my 
process will answer as well for them as for 
bugs, though it's a thing I should never follow 
by choice. Lice seem to harbour pretty much 
the same as bugs do. I found them in the fur- 
niture. It was a nurse that brought them into 
the house, though she was as nice and clean a 
looking woman as ever I saw. I should almost 
imagine the lice must have been in her, for 
they say there is a disease of that kind ; ond if 
the tics breed in sheep, why should not lice 
breed in ub ? for we're but live matter, too. I 
didn't like myself at all for two or three days 
after that lioe-ldlling job, I can assiure you ; it's 
the only case of the lund I ever had, and I can 
promise you it shall be the last. 

" I was once at work on the Princess Char- 
lotte's own bedstead. I was in the room, and 
she asked me if I had found anything, and 
I told her no ; but just at that minute I did 
happen to catch one, and upon that she sprang 
up on the bed, and put her hand on my 
shoulder, to look at it She had been tor- 
mented by the creature, because I was. ordered 
to come directly, and that was the only one I 
found. When the Princess saw it, she said, 
< Oh, the nasty thing t That's what tormented 
me last night; don*t let him escape.' I think 
he looked all the better for having tasted royal 
blood. 

" I also profess to kill beetles, though you 
can never destroy them so effectually as you 



can bugs ; for, you see, beetles run from one 
house to another, and you can never perfectly 
get rid of them ; you can only keep them 
under. Beetles will scrape their way and 
make their road round a fireplace, but how 
they manage to go from one house to another 
I can't say, but they do, 

** I never had patience enough to try and 
kill fleas by my process ; it would be too much 
of a chivey to please me. 

•* I never heard of any but one man who 
seriously went to work selling bug- poison in the 
streets. I was told by some persons that he 
was selling a first-rate thing, and I spent several 
days to find him out. But, after all, his secret 
proved to be nothing at all. It was train-oil, 
linseed and hempseed, crushed up all together, 
and the bugs were to eat it till they burst 

" After all, secrets for bug-poisons ain't 
wortli much, for all depends upon the applica- 
tion of them. For instance, it is often the 
case that I am sent for to find out one bug in 
a room large enough for a school. I've dis- 
covered it when the creature had been three or 
four months there, as I could tell by his having 
changed his jacket so often — for bugs shed 
their skins, you know. No, there was no rea- 
son that he should have bred ; it might have 
been a single gentleman or an old maid. 

** A married couple of bugs will lay from 
forty to fifty eggs at one laying. The eggs are 
oval, and are each as lai*ge as the thirty- second 
part of an inch ; and when together are in the 
shape of a caraway comfit, and of a bluish- 
white colour. They'll lay this quantity of eggs 
three times in a season. The young ones are 
hatched direct f^om the egg, and, hke young 
partridges, will often carry the broken eggs 
about with them, ding^g to their back. They 
get their fore-quarters out, and then they run 
about before the other legs are completely 
cleared. 

"As soon as the bugs are bom they are 
of a cream colour, and will take to blood di- 
rectly; indeed, if they don't get it in two or 
three days they die ; but after one feed they 
will live a considerable time without a second 
meal. I have known old bugs to be frozen 
over in a horse-pond — when the furniture has 
been thrown in the water — and there they 
have remained for a good three weeks ; still, 
after they have got a little bit warm in the 
sun's rays they have returned to life again. 

** I have myself kept bugs for five years and 
a half without food, and a housekeeper at Lord 

H 's informed me that an old bedstead that 

I was then moving from a store-room was 
taken down forty-five years ago, and had not 
been used since, but the bugs in it were still 
numerous, though as thin as living skeletons. 
They couldn't have lived upon the sap of the 
wood, it being worm-eaten and dry as a bone. 

** A bug will live for a number of years, and 
we find Uiat when bugs are put away in old 
furniture without food, they dont increase in 
number ; so that, according to my belief, the 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR, 



39 



bn^ I just mentioned most have existed forty- 
tiTe years : besides, they were large ones, and 
very dark-coloured, which is another proof of 
age. 

" It is a dangerous time for bngs when they 

are shedding their skins, which they do about 

I four times in the course of a year; then they 

I throw off their hard shell and have a soft coat, 

I 80 that the least touch will kiU them ; whereas, 

at other times they will take a strong pressure. 

I have plenty of bug-skins, which I keep by 

me as curiosities, of all sizes and colours, and 

sometimes I have found the young bugs col- 

I lected inside the old ones' skins for warmth, as 

j if they had put on their father's great-coat 

I There are white bugs — albinoes you may call 

I 'em — freaks of nature like." 

I 

Biacx-Bbetles. 

' CocEROAOHES are even more voracious than 
^ crickets. A small species {Blaita Lapponica^ 
Lo;^.), occasionally met with about London, is 
' said to swarm numerously in the huts of the 
I Laplanders, and will sometimes, iu conjunc- 
tion with a carrion-beetle (Silpha Lapponica^ 
Ijx5.), devour, we are told, in a single day, 
their whole store of dried fish. 
In London, and many other parts of the 
' couDtry, coclooaches, originally introduced 
from abroad, have multiplied so prodigiously 
I as to be a great nuisance. They are often so 
numerous in kitchens and lower rooms in 
the metropolis as literally to cover the floor, 
and render it impossible for them to move, 
j except over each other's bodies. This, in- 
deed, onlj happens after dark, for they are 
I strictly night insects, and the instant a candle 
1 is intruded upon the assembly they rush 
towards their hiding-places, so that in a few 
seconds not one of the countless multitude is 
to be seen. 

In oonsequenca of their numbers, inde- 
pendently of their carnivorous propensities, 
they are driven to eat anything that comes 
in their way; and, besides devouring eveiy 
species of kitchen-stuff, they gnaw clothes, 
leather, and books. They likewise pollute 
everything they crawl over, with an unpleasant 
nauseous smell. 

These ** black-beetles," however, as they are 
eommonly called, are harmless when compared 
viih the foreign species, the giant cockroach 
{Blalia giganUa), which is not content with 
devouring the stores of the larder, but will 
attack human bodies, and even gnaw the ex- 
tremities of the dead and dyings — (Drury's 
lUuMtraUoM of Nat, Hut, ilL Pre/.) 

Codroaches, at least the kind that is most 
■bmidant in Britain, hate the light, and never 
come forth from their hiding-places till the 
Hg^ts are removed or extinguished (the Blatta 
Qtrmamea^ however, which abounds in some 
houses, is bolder, making its appearance in 
the day, and rmming up the walls and over 
the tables, to the great annoyance of the in- 



habitants). In the London houses, especially 
on the ground-floor, they are most abundant, 
and consume everything they can find — flour, 
bread, meat, clothes, and even shoes. As soon 
as light, natural or artificial, appears, they all 
scamper off as fast as they can, and vilnish in 
an instant. 

These pests are not indigenous to this 
country, and perhaps nowhere in Europe, but 
are one of the evils which commerce has im- 
ported. In Captain Cook's last voyage, the 
ships, while at Husheine, were infested with 
incredible numbers of these creatures, which 
it was found irapossible by any means to 
destroy. Every kind of food, when exposed 
only for a few minutes, was covered with 
them, and pierced so full of holes, that it 
resembled a honeycomb. They were so fond 
of ink that they ate out the writing on labels. 
Captain Cook's cockroaches were of two kinds — 
the Blatta Orientalis and Oermanica, — {Encyc. 
Briian.) 

The following fact we give firom Mr. Douglas's 
World of Insect* • — 

" Everybody has heard of a haunted house ; 
nearly every house in and about London u 
haunted. Let the doubters, if they have the 
courage, go stealthily down to the kitchen at 
midnight, armed with a light and whatever 
other weapon they like, and they will see that 
beings of which Tam o'Shanter never dreamed, 
whose presence at daylight was only a myth, 
have here * a local habitation and a name.* 
Scared from their nocturnal revels, the crea- 
tures run and scamper in all directions, until, 
in a short time, the stage is clear, and, as in 
some legend of diablerie^ nothing remains but 
a most peculiar odour. 

" These were no spirits, had nothing even of 
the fairy about them, but were veritable cock- 
roaches, or ' black-beetles' — as they are more 
commonly but erroneously termed — for they 
are not beetles at all. They have prodigious 
powers of increase, and are a corresponding 
nuisance. Kill as many as you will, except, 
perhaps, by poison, and you cannot extirpate 
them — ^the cry is, * Still they come.* 

** One of the best ways to be rid of them is to 
keep a hedgehog, to which creature they are 
a favourite food, and his nocturnal habits make 
him awake to theirs. I have known cats eat 
cockroaches, but they do not thrive upon 
them." 

**One article of their food would hardly 
have been suspected," says Mr. Newman, in 
a note communicated to the Entomological 
Society, at the meeting in February, 18ft6. 
<* < There is nothing new under the sun ;' so 
says the proverb. I believed, until a few 
days back, that I possessed the knowledge of 
a fact in the dietary economy of the cockroach 
of which entomologists were not cognisant, 
but I find myself forestalled ; the fact is * as 
old as the hills.* It is, that the cockroach 
seeks with diligence and devours with great 
gusto the common bed-bug. 



40 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR, 



" I will not mention names, bat I am so con- 
fident of the Teracity of the narrator, that I 
-wUlingly take the entire responsibility of the 
foUowiDg narrative : — 

^ * Poverty makes one acquainted with strange 
bedfellows ,** and my informant bears willing 
testimony to the truth of the adage. He had 
not been prosperous, and liad sought shelter 
in a London boarding-house ; every night he 
saw cockroaches ascending his bed-cuitains ; 
every morning ho complained to his very 
respectable landlady, and invaiiably received 
the comforting assurance that there was not a 

* black-beetle m the house.' Still he pursued 
liis nocturnal investigations, and he not only 
saw cockroaches running along the tester of 
Uie bed, but, to his great astonishment, he 
positively observed one of them seize a bug, 
and he therefore concluded, and not without 
some show of reason, that the cockroach 
ascended the curtains witli this especial object, 
and that the more odoriferous insect is a 
favourite food of the major one. 

" The following extract from Mr. Webster's 
« Narrative of Foster's Voyage,' corroborates 
this recent observation, and illustrates the 
proverb wliich I have taken as my text: 

* Cockroaches, those nuisances of ships, are 
plentiful at St Helena, and yet, bad as they 
are, they are more endurable than bugs. 
Trevious to our arrival here in the Chanticleer 
we had suffered great inconvenience from the 
latter ; but the cockroaches no sooner made 
their appearance than the bugs entirely dis- 
appeared. The fact is, the cockroach preys 
ui)on them, and leaves no sign or vestige 
of where they have been. So far, the latter 
is a most valuable insect' " 

So great is the annoyance and discomfort 
arising fh>m tlicse insects in Cockney house- 
holds, that the author of a paper in the Daily 
News discusses the best means of effecting 
their extirpation. The writer of the article 
referred to avows his conviction, that the 
ingeniouB individual who shall devise the 
means of effectually ridding our houses of 
these insect pests iiiU deserve to be ranked 
amongst the benefactors of mankind. The 
writer details the various expedients resorted 
to — hedgehogs, cucumber-peel, red wafers, 
phosphonc paste, glazed basins or pio-dishcs 
filled with beer, or a syrup of beer and sugar, 
with bits of wood set up from tiie floor to the 
edge, for the creatures to run up by, and then 
be precipitated into the fatal lake, but believes 
that *'none of these methods are fundamental 
enough for the evil," which, so far as he is ^et 
aware, can only be effectualJly cured by heatmg 
our houses by steam t 

Beetle Destboyeab. 

A FiRV, which has been established in London 
seven years, and which manufactures ex- 
clusively poison known to the trade as tlie 
** I'hosplior Paste for the destruction of black- 



beeties, cockroaches, rats, mice/' &€,, were 
kind enough to give mo the following infor- 
mation: — 

" AVe have now sold this vermin poison for 
seven years, but we have never had an applica- 
tion for our composition from any street-seller. 
We have seen, a year or two since, a man 
about London who used to sell beetle-wafers ; 
but as we knew that kind of article to bo 
entirely useless, we were not surprised to fmd 
that he did not succeed in making a hving. 
We have not heoi'd of him fur some time, anid 
have no doubt he is dead, or has taken up 
some other line of emplo}'ment 

"It is a strange fact, perhaps; but we do 
not know anything, or scarceiy anything, as to 
the kind of people and tradesmen who pur- 
chase our poison — to speak the tmth, we do 
not like to make too many inquiries of our 
customers. Sometimes, when tiiey have used 
more than their customary quantity, we have 
asked, casually, how it was and to what kind of 
business-people they disposed of it, and wo have 
always been met with an evasive sort of answer. 
You see tradesmen don't like to divulge too 
mucli ; for it must be a poor kind of pro£esaion 
or calling that there ore no secrets in ; and, 
again, they fancy we want to know what de- 
scription of trades use the most of our com- 
position, so that we might supply them direct 
from ourselves. 

" From tiiis oanso we Ixavo made it a rule 
not to inquire curiously into the mutters of our 
customers. We are quite content to dispose 
of the quantity wo do, for we employ aix 
travellers to call on chemists and oilmen fur 
tJie town trade, and four for the country. 

*' The otlier day an elderly lady from High- 
street, C&mden Town, called upon us : she 
stated that she was overrun with black-beeties, 
and wished to buy some of our paste from our- 
selves, for she said she always found things 
better if you purchased them of the maker, as 
yon were sure to get them stronger, and by 
that means avoid^ the adulteration of the 
shopkeepers. But as we have said we would 
not supply a single box to anyone, not wiahing 
to give our agents any cause for complaint, we 
were obliged to refuse to sell to the old lady. 

•* We don't care to say how many boxes we 
sell in tlio year ; but we can tell you, sir, that 
we sell more for boeUe poisoning in the 
summer than in the winter, as a matter of 
course. ViThen we find that a particular distnct 
uses almost an equal quantity all Uie year 
round, we make sure that that is a rat district ; 
for where there is not the heat of summer to 
breed beeties, it must follow that the people 
wish to get rid of rats. 

" Brixton, Hackney, Ball's Pond, and Lower 
Road, Islington, are the places that use most 
of our paste, those districts lying low, and 
being consequentiy damp. Camden Town, 
though it is in a high situation, is vcr}* much 
infested with beeties; it is a clayey soil, you 
undcx-staud, which retains moisture, und will 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOH. 



41 



Bot tllo w it to ® ter lihTOtigh &e gravel. Tkis 
is wby in flone "very low districts, where the 
b<mses are bniH <m -gravel, we sell scarce! j any 
of otir xmste. 

" As the fanners say, & good fttnt year is a 
food fly ycirr; so we say, a good dnll, wet 
smniner, is a "good beetle smmner ; and this 
has been a Tery fertile year, and we only hope 
it win be as good next year. 

•• We don't believe in rat-destroyers ; they 
profess to Idll with weasels and a lot of things, 
and sometimes even say they can charm them 
away. Captains of vessels, when they anive 
in the docks, will employ these people ; and, 
as we say, they genendly use onr composition, 
bat as long as their vessels are cleared of the 
vermin, they dont care to know how it is done. 
A man who drives about in a cart, and docs a 
great business in this way, we have reason to 
believe nses % great qnantUy of our Phosphor 
Paste. He comes from somewhere down the 
East-end or \NTiitechapel way. 

•Our prices are too high for the street- 
sellers. Your street-seller can only afford to 
sell an article made by a person in bnt a very 
httle better position than himself. Even onr 
small boxes cost At the trade priee two shillings 
a dozen, and when sold "will only produce three 
shillings ; so you can imagine the profit is not 
enough for the itinerant vendor. 

" Bakers don't «se much of our paste, far 
they seem to think it no use to destroy the 
vermin — beetles and bakers* ahops generally 
go togethar." 

Cbicqcts. 

The house-cridket may perhaps be deemed 
a s^H more annoiying insect than the common 
cockroach, adding an incessant noise to its 
ravages. Though it may not be unpleasant 
to hear for a short time '* the cricket 
chimip in the hearth,^ so constant a din 
every evening must greatly intaimpt o<nnfort 
aad conversation. 

These garrulous animals, which live in a 
land of artificial torrid zone, ara very thirsty 
souls, and are frequently found drowned in 
pans of water, milk, broth, and the like. 
Whatever is moist, even stockings or linen 
hung out to dry, is to them a houtu boucke ; 
Ihey win eat the skimmings of pots, yeast, 
crambs of bread, and even salt, or anything 
within their reafih. Sometimes thej are so 
abundant in houses as to become absolute 
pestSi flying into the candles and even into 
people's faces. — (Kirby and Spence's £hI. u 
200,7.) 

The house-cricket {Acheia domettica) is well 
known for its habit of picking out the mortar 
of ovens and fire-places, where it not only 
enjoys warmth, but can procure abundance of 
food. It is usually supposed that it feeds on 
bread. M. Latreille says it only eats insects, 
and it certainly thrives well in houses infested 
by the cockroach ; but we have also known it 



eat and destroy lamb's-wool stockings, and 
other woollen stuffs, hung near a fire to dry. 
Although the food of crickets consists chiefly 
of vegetable substances, they exliibit a pro- 
pensity to carnivorous habits. The house- 
cricket thrives best in the vicinity of a baker's 
oven, where there are plenty of breswl crumbs. 

Mouffet marvels at its extreme lankness, 
inasmuch as there is not " found in the belly 
any superfluity at all, although it feed on the 
moisture of flesh and fat of broth, to which, 
eitlier poured out or reserved, it runs in the 
night ; yea, although it feed on bread, yet is 
the belly always lank and void of superfluity." 
— ( Theatre of Insects, p. 90.) 

White of Selbome, again, says, "as one 
would suppose, from the burning atmosphere 
which they inhabit, they are a thirsty race, 
and show a great propensity for liquids, being 
frequently found dead in pans of water, milk, 
broth, or tbo like. Whatever is moist they 
arc fond of, and therefore they often gnaw 
holes in wet woollen stockings and aprons 
that are hung to the fire. These crickets are 
not only VC17 thu-sty, but very voracious ; for 
they will eat the scummings of pots, yeast, 
bread, and kitchen offal, or sweepings of 
almost eveiy description." — (A'o/. Hist, of 
Seliorne.) 

The cricket is eridcntly not fond of hard 
labour, but prefers those places where the 
mortar is already loosened, or at least is new, 
soft, and easily scooped out ; and in this way 
it will dig covert channels from room to room. 
In summer, crickets often make excursions 
from the house to the neighbouring fields, 
and dwell in the crevices of rubbish, or the 
cracks made in the ground by dry weather, 
where tliey chirp as merrily as in the snuggest 
chimney-comer. Whether they ever dig re- 
treats in such circumstances we have not 
ascertained, though it is not improbable they 
ms^' do so for the purpose of making nests. 

"Those,- says Mr. Gough of Manchester, 
" who have attended to the manners of the 
hearth -cricket, know that it passes the hottest 
part of the summer in sunny situations, con- 
cealed in the crevices of widls and hei^ of 
rubbish. It quits its summer abode aboui 
the end of August, and fixes its residence by 
the fireside of kitchens or cottages, where it 
multiplies its species, and is as meny at 
Christmas as other insects in the dog-days. 
ThTis do the comforts of a warm hearth afford 
the cricket a safe refuge, not from death, but 
firom temporaxy torpiditj^, though it con sup- 
port this for a long time, when deprived by 
accident of artificial warmth. 

" I came to a knowledge of this fact," con- 
tinues Mr. Gough, " by planting a colony of 
these insects in a kitchen, where a constant 
fire was kept through the summer, but which 
is discontinued from November till June, with 
the exception of a day once in six or eight 
weeks. The crickets were brought from a 
distance, and let go in this room, in the be- 



42 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



ginning of September, 1806; here they in- 
creased considerably in the course of two 
months, but were not heard or seen after the 
fire was removed. Their disappearance led 
me to conclude that the cold had killed them ; 
but in this I was mistaken ; for a brisk fire 
being kept up for a whole day in the winter, 
the warmth of it invited my colony from their 
hiding*place, but not before the evening ; after 
which they continued to skip about and chirp 
the greater part of the following day, when 
they again disappeared — being compelled, by 
the returning cold, to take refuge in their 
former retreats. They left the chimney- 
comer on the 25th of May, 1807, after a fit of 
veiy hot weather, and revisited their winter 
residence on the 3 1st of August. Here they 
spent the summer merely, and at present 
(Januar}', 1808) lie torpid in the crevices of 
the chimney, with the exception of those days 
on which they are recalled to a temporary 
existence by the comforts of the fire." — (Reeve, 
Euay on the Torpidity qfAnimali, p. 84.) 

M. Bery St. Vincent tells us that the 
Spaniards are so fond of crickets that they 
keep them in cages like singing-birds. — (Did. 
CUusique d*SUt, Nat, Ari,^ GrUlon. Bennie's 
Intect ArehiUeture, 4th edit. p. 242.) 

Associated as is the chirping song of the 
cricket family of insects with the snug chimney- 
corner, or the sunshine of summer, it affords 
a pleasure which certainly does not arise from 
the intrinsic quality of its music. ^* Sounds," 
says White, *' do not always give us pleasure 
according to their sweetness and melody ; nor 
do harsh sounds always displease. Thus, 
the shrilling of the field-cricket {Acheta cam- 
pettriM), though sharp and stridulous, yet 
marvellously delights some hearers, filling 
their minds with a train of summer ideas of 
everything that is rural,verdurous, and joyous." 
--{Nat. Hist. o/Selbome, ii. 73.) 

*' Sounds InharmoniouB in ihemielvea. and banh, 
Tet heard in soenea where peace for ever reignii^ 
And only there, pleaae highly for their nke." 

CowFKB, Tdak^ Book I. 

This circumstance, no doubt, causes the 
Spaniards to keep them in cages, as we do 
Binging-birds. White tells us that, if sup. 
pHed with^ moistened leaves, they will sing as 
merrily and loud in a paper cage as in the 
fields ; but he did not succeed in planting a 
colony of them in the terrace of his garden, 
though he bored holes for them in the turf to 
save them the labour of digging. 

The hearth-cricket, again, though we hear 
it oocasionally in the hedge-banks in simuner, 



prefers the warmth of an oven or a good fire, 
and thence, residing as it were always in the 
torrid zone, is ever alert and merry — a good 
Christmas fire being to it what the heat of the 
dog-days is to others. 

Though crickets are frequently heard by 
day, yet their natural time of motion is only 
in tiie night. As soon as darkness prevails 
the chirping increases, whilst the hearth- 
crickets come running forth, and are often to 
be seen in great numbers, from the size of a 
flea to that of their full stature. 
I Like the field-cricket, the hearth- crickets 
' are sometimes kept for their music ; and the 
learned Scaliger took so great a fancy to tlieir 
I song, that he was accustomed to keep them 
in a box in his study. It is reported that in 
some parts of Africa they are kept and fed in 
a kind of iron oven, and sold to the natives, 
who like their chirp, and think it is a good 
soporific— (Mouffet, Theat. Insect, 136.) 

Milton, too, chose for his contemplative 
pleasures a spot where crickets resorted :— 

" Where glowing embcm through the room 
Teach bght to counterfeit a gloom. 
Far from all retort of mirth, 
8ee the cricket on the hearth."— /{ Peiucroso. 

Bennie, in his Insect Jfiscellaniei, says, 
'* We have been as tmsuccessf\il in transplant- 
ing the hearth-cricket as White was wiUi the 
field-crickets. In two different houses we 
have repeatedly introduced crickets, but could 
not prevail on them to stay. One of our 
. trials, indeed, was made in summer, with 
' insects brought from a garden-wall, and it is 
probable they thought the kitchen fire-side 
too hot at that season."— (p. 82.) 

The so-called chirp of the cricket is a vulgar 
error. The instrument (for so it may be 
styled) upon which the male cricket plays 
(the femide is mute) consists of strong ner. 
vures or rough strings in the wing-cases, by 
the friction of which against each other a 
sound is produced and communicated to the 
membranes stretched between them, in the 
same manner as the vibrations caused by the 
friction of the finger upon the tambourine are 
difilised over its surfSnce. It is erroneously 
stated in a popular work, that " the organ is 
a membrane, which in contracting, by means 
of a muscle and tendon placed under the 
wings of the insect, folds down somewhat like 
a fan ; ** and this, being ** always dry, yields by 
its motion a sharp piercing sound." — (Bing, 
Anim, Biog, iv. hth edit. Bennie's Insed 
Miscellanies^ p. 62.) 




PUNCH'S SHOWMEN. 

[From a PhotographJ] 



LOMDOK LABOUR AND THE LOKDON POOR. 



At\ 



OUR STREET FOLK. 



I^STBEET EXHIBITOES. 

PCKCH. 

The perf'^nncr of Punch thct I satr iras a 
short, dark, pl e asant-looking laan, dressed iu 
a veiy greasy and very shiny green sliooting- 
.iacket. This waa iaataned togedier by one 
buUmi iu front, all the other button-holes 
having been boxat through. Protruding from 
Lis bo8oni, a comer of the pandean pipes was 
just A-icuble, and as he told me the stor>' of his 
fctlventures, he kept playing with the band of 
his very limp and very rusty old beaver hat 
lie had formeriy been a gentleman's servant, 
and was cspeeiiUly civil in his manners. He 
came to nie with to hair tidily brushed for 
the oeeasion, but apologised for his appear- 
ance on entering the room. He was rery 
ccumDunieativey and took great delight in talk- 
ing hk» Punch, with his call in his moutli, 
while some yoong children were in the room, 
and who, hearing the well-known sound of 
Punch's voice, looked all about for the figure. 
Not seraig the show, the}' fancied the man 
had the figure in his pocket, luid that the 
soimds came from it The change from 
Punch's voice to the man's natural tone was 
managed without ao eflbrt, and inatanta- 
nwuslj. It had a very peculiar efiect. 

** I am the proprietor of a Punch's show," 
he said. ** I goes about with it myself, and 
pertarms inside the frame behind the green 
baize. I have a pardner what plays the 
music — the pipes and drum; him as you 
seed with me. I have been ftve-and-twenty 
year now at the buainess. I wish Pd never 
K-en it, though itVs heen a money-making busi- 
ness -^indeed, the best of all the street hex- 
hibitBons I may say. I am fifty years old. I 
took to it for money gains — that was what I 
done it for. I formerly lived in service— 
was a fbotraan in a gentieman's family. TYhen 
I first took to it, I could make two and three 
pounds a-day— I could so. You see, the way 
in whirh I took first to the business was thin 
here— there was a party used to come and 
' cheer' for ns at my macfter's house, and her 
son having a liexhibition of his own, and being 
in want of a pardner, axed me if so be Pd go 
out, which was a thing that I degraded at the 
time. He gave me informatioD as to what the 
money^akuig was, and it aeemed to me that 
frood,'that it voold pay me better nor service. 
X had twenty poim« a-yaar in my place, and 
my boaand and lodging, sad two amtaof clothes, 
l>ut the young man told me as how I could 
make one pound ai^ay at the Puneh^and- 
Jady basiaesB, after a little practice. I took 
a d^ of penoasioa, though, be£6re Pd join 
him — it was beneath my dignity to fall from I 



a footman to a showman. But, you ciee, the 
French gennehnan as I Ivi^ed with (he were a 
merchant in the dty, and had fourteen clerks 
working for him) went back to his own 
country to reside, and left me with a written 
kerrackter ; but that was ao use to me : though 
I'd fine rocommeudations at the back of it, 
no one would look at it ; so I was five months 
out of employment, knocking about — Kviog 
first on my wages and then on my clothes, till 
all was gone but the Hew rags on ray back. So 
I began to think that the Punch-Mid-Judy 
business was better than starving aifter alL 
Yes, I should think anything was better than 
that, though it's a business that, alter youVe 
onee took to, ynu nerrer can get out of — 
people fancies you know too much, and wont 
have nothing to say to you. If I got a situa- 
tion at a tradesman's, why the boys would be 
sure to recognise me behind the counter, and 
begin a shouting into the shop (theynurtf 
shout, you know): * Oh, there's Punch and 
Judy-^there's Punch a-sarving out the cus- 
tomers!' Ah, it's a great annoyaace being a 
public kerrackter, I can asaore you, sir; go 
where you will, if s * Punchy, Punchy ! ' As for 
the boys, they'll never leave me alone till I 
die, I know; and I suppose in my old age I 
shall have to take to the paiish broom. All 
our forefathers died in the workhouse. I don't 
know a Puneli's showman that hasn't. One 
of ay pardners was buried by the workhouse ; 
and e%'en old Pike, the most noted showman 
as ever was, died in the workhouse — Pike 
and Porsini. Porsini was the first original 
street Pundi, and Pike was his apprentice ; 
their names is handed dowm to posterity 
among the noblemen and footmen of the 
land. They both died in the workhouse, and, 
in course, I shall do the same. Something 
else mi^ turn up, to be sure. We can't say 
what this luck of the world is. I'm obliged to 
strive verjr hard — very hard indeed, sir, now, 
to get a hving ; and then not to get it after all 
•—at times, compelled to go short, often. 

** Punch, you know, sir, ia a dramatic per- 
formance in two hacts. It's a play, you may 
say. I don't think it can be cidled a tragedy 
hexactly; a drama is what we names it. 
There is tragic parts, and eomie and senti- 
mental i>arta, toa Some families where I 
performs will have it most sentimental — in 
the original style ; them families is generally 
sentimental theirselves. Others is all for the 
eomie, and then I has to kick up all the ga^fs 
I can. To the sentunental fblk I am obl^ed 
toi»erform weny steadv and werry slow, and 
leave out all oomic wotds and business. They 
wont have no ghost, no ooflfin, and no detii; 
and that's what I call qpiling the perfbrmsnea 



44 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



entirely. It's the inarch of hintellect wot's a 
doing all this— it is, sir. But I was a going 
to tell you about my first jining the business. 
Well, you see, after a good deal of persuading, 
atfl being drew to it, I may say, I consented 
to go out with the young man as I were a- 
speaking about. He was to give me twelve 
shillings a-week and my keep, for two years 
certain, till I oould get my own show things 
together, and for that I was to cany the show, 
and go round and collect. Collecting, you 
know, sounds better than begging ; the pro- 
nounciation's better like. Sometimes the peo- 
ple says, when they sees us a coming round, 
' Oh, here they comes a-begging '.-.but it 
can't be begging, you know, when you're a 
hexerting yourselves. I couldn't play the drum 
and pipes, so the young man used to do that 
himself, to call the people together before he 
got into the show. I used to stand outside, 
and patter to the figures. The first time that 
ever I went out with Punch was in the be- 
ginning of August, 1825. I did all I could to 
avoid being seen. My dignity was hurt at 
being hobJigated to take to the streets for a 
living. At fust I fought shy, and used to feel 
queer somehow, you don't know how like, 
whenever the people used to look at me. I 
remember werry well the first street as eyer 
I performed in. It was off Gray's Inn, one of 
them quiet, genteel streets, and when the mob 
began to gather round I felt all-overish, and 
I turned my head to the frame instead of the 
people. We hadn't had no rehearsals afore- 
hand, and I did the patter quite permiBcnous. 
There was not much talk, to be sure, required 
then; and what little there was, consisted 
merely in calling out the names of the figures 
as they came up, and these my master 
prompted me with from inside the fbune. 
But little as there was for me to do, X know I 
never could have done it, if it hadnt been for 
the spirits — the false spirits, you see (a little 
drop of gin), as my master guv me in the 
morning. The first time as ever I made my 
appearance in public, I collected as much as 
eight shillings, and my master said, after the 
peiformance was over, 'You'll do I' You see 
I was partly in livery, and looked a little bit 
decent like. After this was over, I kept on 
going out with my master for two years, as I 
had agreed, and at the end of that time I had 
saved enough to start a show of my own. I 
bought the show of old Porsini, the man as 
first brought Punch into the streets of Eng- 
land. To be Biure, there was a woman over 

here with it before then. Her name was 

I can't think of it just now, but she never per- 
formed in the streets, so we consider Porsini 
as our real forefather. It isnt much more nor 
setftDty years since Porsini (he was a weny 
old man when he died, and blind) showed 
the hexhibidon in the streets of London. I've 
heerd tell that old Porsini used to take very 
often as much as ten pounds a-day, and he 
used to sit down to his fowls and wine, and 



the very best of everything, like the first 
gennelman in the land; indeed, he made 
enough monev at the business to be quite a 
tip-top gennelman, that he did. But he never 
took care of a halfpenny he got. He was that 
independent, that if he was wanted to perform, 
sir, he'd come at his time, not your'n. At 
last, he reduced himself to want, and died in 
St. Giles's workhouse. Ah, poor fellow ! he 
oughtn't to have been allowed to die where he 
did, after amusing the public for so many 
years. Every one in London knowed him. 
Lords, dukes, princes, squires, and wagabonds 
— all used to stop to laugh at his performance, 
and a funny clever old fellow he was. He was 
past performing when I bought my show of 
him, and werry poor. He was living in the 
Coal-yard, Drury-lone, and had scarcely a bit 
of food to eat. He had spent all he had got 
in drink, and in treating friends, — aye, any 
one, no matter who. He didn't study the 
world, nor himself neither. As fast as the 
money came it went, and when it was gone, 
why, he'd go to work and get more. His 
show was a very inferior one, though it were 
the fust — nothing at all like them about now 
— nothing near as good. If you only had four 
sticks then, it was quite enough to make 
plenty of money out of, so long eis it wns 
Punch. I gave him thirty-five shillings for 
the stand, figures and all. I bought it cheap, 
you see, for it was thrown on one side, and 
was of no use to any one but such as myself. 
There was twelve figures and the other happa- 
ratus, such as the gallows, ladder, horse, bell, 
and stuffed dog. The characters was Punch, 
Judy, Child, Beadle, Scaramouch, Nobody, 
Jack Ketch, the Grand Senoor, the Doctor, 
the Devil (there was no Ghost used then). 
Merry Andrew, and the Blind Man. These 
last two kerrackters are quite done with now. 
The heads of the kerrackters was all carved in 
wood, and dressed in the proper costmne of 
the country. There was at that time, and is 
now, a real carver for the Punch business. 
He was dear, but werry good and hexcellent. 
His Punch's head was the best as I ever seed. 
The nose and chin used to meet quite close 
together. A set of new figures, dressed and 
all, would come to about fifteen pounds. Each 
head costs five shillings for the bare carving 
alone, and every figure that we has takes at 
least a yard of cloth to dress him, besides 
ornaments and things tliat comes werry ex- 
pensive. A good show at the present time 
will cost three pounds odd for the stand alone 
— that's includmg baize, the frx)ntispiece, the 
back scene, the cottage, and the letter doth, 
or what is called the drop-scene at the 
theatres. In the old ancient style, the back 
scene used to pull up and change into a gaol 
scene, but that^s all altered now. 

" We've got more upon the comic business 
now, and tries to do more with Toby than 
with the prison scene. The prison is what 
we calls the sentimental style. Formerly 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



45 



L^ 



Tol>y was only a stuffed figure. It was Pike 
wlio first hit upon hintrodudng a live dog, 
and a great hit it were— 4t made a grand 
alteration in the hezhibition, for now the per- 
formance is called Punch and Toby a» well 
There is one Punch about the streets at 
present that tries it on with three dogs, but 
that ain't much of a go — too much of a good 
thing I calls it. Punch, as I said before, is 
a drama in two hacts. We don't drop the 
scene at the end of the first — the drum and 
pipes strikes up instead. The first act we 
consider to end with Punch being taken to 
prison for the murder of his wife and child. 
The great difficulty in performing Punch 
cr^nsists in the speaking, which is done by a 
call, or whistle in the mouth, such as this 
here.** (He then produced the call from his 
waistcoat pocket. It was a small fiat instru- 
ment, made of two curved pieces of metal 
about the size of a knee-buckle, bound toge- 
ther with black thread. Between these was a 
plate of some substance (apparently silk), 
which he sud was a secret. The call, he told 
me. was timed to a musical instrument, and 
Uxik a considerable time to learn. He after- 
wards took firom his pocket two of the small 
metallic plates unbound. He said the compo- 
ution they were made of was also one of the 
"secrets of the purfession." They were not 
tin, nor zinc, because " both of them metals 
wt-re poisons in the mouth, and hii\jurious to 
the constitutxon.") "These calls," he con- 
tinued, **we often sell to gennelmen for a 
sovereign a-piece» and for that we give 'em a 
receipt how to use them. They ain't whistles, 
but calls, or unknown tongues, as we some- 
times names 'em, because with them in the 
mouth we can pronotmce each word as plain 
as any parson. We have two or three kinds 
— one for out-of-doors, one for in-doors, one 
for spcaidng and for singing, and another for 
selling. I've sold many a one to gennelmen 
puing along, so I generally keeps a hextra one 
with me. Porsini brought the calls iuto this 
country with him firom Italy, and we who are 
now in the purfession have all learnt how to 
make and use them, either from him or those 
as he had tatight 'em to. I lamt the use of 
mine from Porsini himself. My master 
whom I went out with at first would never 
teach me, and was werry partiekler in keeping 
it all secret frtnn me. Porsini taught me the 
call at the time I bought his show of him. I 
vas six months in {Meeting myself in the 
use of it. I kept practising away night and 
morning with it, until I got it quite perfect. 
It was no use tiying at home, 'cause it sounds 
quite different in the hopen hair. Often 
vfaen I've made 'em at home, I'm obliged to 
take the calls to pieces after tiying 'em out 
in the streets, they're been made upon too 
weak a scale. When I was practising, I used 
to go into the parks, and fields, and out-of. 
the-w«r plAoes, so as to get to know how to 
use it m the hopen hair. Now I'm reckoned 



one of the best speakers in the whole pmf es- 
sion. When I made my first appearance as a 
regular performer of Punch on my own 
account, I did feel uncommon narvous, to be 
sure : though I know'd tho people couldn't see 
me behind tho baize, still I felt as if all the 
eyes of the country were upon me. It was as 
much as hever I could do to get the words 
out, and keep the figures firom shaking. 
When I struck up the first song, my voice 
trembled so as I tliought I never should be 
able to get to the hend of Uie first hact. I 
soon, however, got over that there, and at 
present I'd play before the whole bench of 
bishops as cool as a cowcumber. We always 
have a pardncr now to play the drum and 
pipes, and collect the money. This, however, 
is only a recent dodge. In older times we 
used to go about Yi\\Xi a trumpet — that was 
Porsini's ancient style ; but now that's stopped. 
Only her migesty's mails may blow trumpets 
in the streets at present. The fust person 
who went out with me was my wife. She 
used to stand outside, and keep the boys from 
peeping through the baize, whilst I was per- 
forming behind it; and she used to collect 
the money afterwards as well. I carried the 
show and trumpet, and she the box. She's 
been dead these five years now. Take one 
week with another, all through the year, I 
should say I made then five pounds regular. 
I have taken as much as two pounds ten 
shillings in one day in the streets ; and I used 
to think it a bad day's business at that time if 
I took only one pound. You can see Punch 
has been good work — a money-making busi- 
ness — and beat all mechanics right out. If I 
could take as much as I did when I first 
began, what must my forefathers have done, 
when the business was five times as good as 
ever it were in my time ? Why, I leaves you to 
judge what old Porsini and Pike must have 
made. Twenty years ago I have often and 
often got seven shillings and eight shillings 
for one hexhibition in the streets : two shillings 
and three shillings I used to think low to get 
at one collection ; and many times Pd perform 
eight or ten times in a day. Wo didn't care 
much about work then, for we could get money 
fast enough; but now I often show twenty 
times in the day, and get scarcely a bare 
living at it arter all. That shows the times, 
you know, sir — what things was and is now. 
Arter performing in the streets of a day we 
used to attend private parties in the hevening, 
and get sometimes as much as two pounds for 
the hexhibition. This used to be at the juve- 
nile parties of the nobility ; and the perform- 
ance lasted about an hour and a half. For a 
short performance of half-an-hour at a gennel- 
man's house we never had less than one 
potmd. A performance outside the house 
was two shillmgs and sixpence ; biit we often 
got as much as ten shillings forit% I have 
performed afore almost all the nobility. Lord 
— ^ was particular partial to us, and one of 



46 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR, 



our greatest patronizers. At the time of the 
Police Bill I met him at Cheltenham on my 
travels, and he told me as he had saved 
Punch's neck once more; and it's through 
him principally that we are allowed to exhibit 
in the streets. Punch is exempt from the 
Police Act. If ;ou read the hact throughout, 
you won't find Punch mentioned in it. But 
all I've been telling you is about tlte business 
as it was. What it i<, is a werry different 
oonsam. A good day for us now seldom gets 
beyond five shillings, and thot's between 
m^'self and my pardner, who plays the drum 
and pipes. Often we are out all day, and get 
a mere nufiiug. Many days we have been out 
and taken nu£Bng at all — that's werry common 
when wo dwells upon hordera. By dwelling 
on borders, I means looking out for gcnnelmcn 
what want us to play in front of their houses. 
When we strike up in the hopeu street we take 
upon a haverage only threepence a show. In 
course we viay do more, but that's about the 
sum, take one street performance with another. 
Them kind of performances is what we calls 
* short showing.' We gets the halfpence and 
hooks it A * long pitch ' is tlie name we gives 
to performances that lasts about half-an hour 
or more. Them long pitches we confine 
solely to street comers in public thorough- 
fares ; and then we take about a sliilliug upon 
a haverage, and more if it's to bo got — we 
never turns away nuffing. ' Boys, look up 
your fardens,' says the outside man ; * it ain't 
half over yet, we'll show it all through.' The 
short shows we do only in private by-streets, 
and of them we can get through about twenty 
m the day ; that's as much as we can tackle 
—ten in the morning, and ten in the after- 
noon. Of the long pitches we can only do 
eight in the day. We start on our rounds at 
nine in the morning, and remain out till dark 
at night. We gets a snack at the publics on 
our road. The best hourn for Punch ere in 
the morning from nine till ten, because then 
the children are at home. Alter that, you 
know, they goes oiut with the maids for a 
walk. From twelve tall three is good again, 
and then Irom six till nine; that's because 
the children are noostly at home at them 
hours. We make much more by borders fur 
performance houttide the gonnel men's houses, 
than we do by performing in public in tlie 
hopen streets. Monday is the best day for 
street business; Friday is no day at all, 
because then iha poor people has spent all 
their BM>ney. If we was to pitch on a Friday, 
we shouldn't take a halfpenny in the streets, 
so we in general on that day goes round for 
horders. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday 
is the best days for us with hordera at gennel- 
men's houses* We do much better in the 
spring than at any other time in the year, 
excepting holiday time, at Midsummer and 
Christmas. That's what we call Punch's 
season. We do most at hevening parties in 
the holiday time, and if there's a pin u> choose I 



between them, I should say Christmas holi- 
days was the best. For attending hevouing 
parties now we generally get one pound and 
our refreshments — as much more as they like 
to give us. But the business gets slacker and 
slacker every season. Where I went to ten 
parties twenty years ago, I don't go to two now. 
People isn't getting tired of our performances^ 
but stingier — that's iL Everybody looks at 
their money now afore they parts with it, and 
gennelfolks haggles and cheapens us down to 
shillings and sixpences, as if they was guineas 
in the holden tune. Our business is weriy 
■ much like hackney-coach work ; we do best in 
vet vethcr. It looks like rain this evening, 
and I'm imoommon glad on it, to be sure. 
You see, the vet keeps the children in-doors 
all day, and then they want^ something to 
quiet 'em a bit ; and the mother:^ and fathers, 
to pacify tlie dears, gives us a border to per- 
form. It mustn't rain cats and dogs — that's 
as bad as no rain at aU. What we likes is a 
regular good, steady Scotch mist, for then w© 
takes double what we takes on other days. 
In summer we docs little or nothing ; the 
children are out all day ei^oying themselves 
in the parks. The best pitch of all in London 
is Leicester-square ; there's all sorts of classes, 
you see, passing there. Then comes Hegent- 
strcet (the comer of Burlington-street is un- 
common good, an 4 there's a good publican 
til ere besides). Bond-street ain't no good 
now. Oxford-street, up by Old Cavendish- 
street, or Oxford-market, or Wells- street, are 
all favourite pitches for Punch. We don't do 
much in the City. People has their heads all 
full of business there, and them as is greedy 
artcr the money ain't no friend of Punch's. 
Tottenham-court-road, the New-road, and all 
the henvirons of Londoui is pretty goodg 
Hampstead, tho', ain't no good; they've got 
too poor there. Id sooner not go out at all 
tlian to Ilompsteod. Belgrave-square, and all 
about that part, is uncommon good ; but whei*d 
there's many chapels Punoh won't do at alL 
I did once, tliougfa, strike up hoppositlon to a 
street preacher wot was a holding forth in the 
New-road, and did uncommon well. All his 
flock, 08 he called 'em, left him, and come 
over to look at mo. Punch and preaching is 
two difi'erent creeds — hopposition parties, I 
may say. We in generally walks from twelve 
to twenty mile every day, and carries the 
show, which weighs a good half-hundred, at 
the least. Arter great exertion, our woice 
werry often fails us; for speaking all day 
through the *■ call ' is werry trying, 'specially 
when we are chirruping up so as to bring the 
children to the vinders* The boys is the 
greatest nuisances we has to contend with. 
Wherever we goes we are sure of plenty of 
boys for a hindrance; but they've got no 
money, bother 'em ! and they'll follow us for 
milos, so that we're often compelled to go 
miles to awoid 'em. Many ports is swarming 
with boys, such as VitechapeL SpitalfieldSy 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOH. 



47 



s the wont place for boys I ever come 
ir; they^ like flies in sommer there, 
mnch more thicker. I never shows my 
within miles of them parts. Chelsea, 

0, has an nneommon lot of boys; and 
ferer we know the children swarm, there's 
spots we makes a point of awoiding. 
', the boys is snch a hobstruction to our 
onnance, that often we are obliged to drop 
cnrtain for *em. They'll throw one ano- 
's ei^ into the frame while I*m inside on 
dd do what we will, we can't keep 'em from 
ng their fingers through the baize and 
ing holes to peep through. Then they will 
» tapping the drum ; but the worst of all 
ie most of *em ain't got a farthing to bless 
aseWes with, and they ttnll shove into the 

places. Soldiers, again, wc don't like, 
''re got no money — no, not even so much 
ockets, sir. Nusscs ain*t no good. Even 
e mothers of the dear little children has 
n 'em a penny to spend, wliy the nnsses 
s H from 'em, and keeps it for ribbins. 
letimes we can coax a penny out of the 
iren, hnt the nusses knows too much to 
gammoned by us. Indeed, servants in 
•raliy don't do the thing what's right to 
.some is good to u.«, but the most of 'em 

hove x>oundago out of what we gets. 
lit sixpence out of every half-crown is 
t the footman takes from us. We in 
erally goes into the country in the summer 
i for two or three months. Watering- 
res is wenry good in July and August. 
leh mostly goes down to the sea-side 
1 die quatity. Drighton, though, ain't no 
Tont; the Pavilion's done up with, and 
nefinv Punch has' discontinued his visits. 

don't put np at the trompers' houses on 

tzavels, but m generally inns is where we 
rs; because we considers ourselves to be 
ve the otlier showmen and mendicants. 
Toe lodging-houso as I stopped at once in 
nrick, there was as many as fifty staying 
m what got their living by street perform- 
w t he greater part were Italian boys and 

1. There are altogether as many as six- 
I Pondi-and-Judy frames in England. 
hi of these is at work in London, and the 
er eight in the countiy; and to each of 
le frnnes there are two men. We are all 
ninted with one another ; are all sociable 
9tlicr, and know where each other is, and 
d ^biej are a-dcing on. When one comes 
M^ another goes out; that's the way wo 
seed through Hfe. It wouldn't do for 

to go to the same place. If two of us 
pens to meet at one town, we jine, and 
i parda ci B , and share the money. One 
I one waj, and one another, and we meet 
igbt, and reckon up over a sociaUe pint 
i glees. We shift pardneis so as each may 
V boir much the other has taken. It's 
common practice for the man what per- 
n Pmich to share with the one wot plays 
dnmi end pipes — each has half wot ia 



collected; but if the pordner can't play the 
drum and pipes, and only carries the frame, 
and collects, then his share is but a third of 
what is taken till he learns how to perform 
himself. The street performers of London 
lives mostly in little rooms of their own ; they 
has generally wives, and one or two children, 
who are brought up to the business. Some 
lives about the Westminster-road, and St. 
George's East. A great many are in Lock's- 
fields — they are all the old school that way. 
Then some, or rather the principal part of 
the showmen, are to be found about lisson- 
grove. In this neighbourhood there is e 
house of call, where they all assembles in the 
evening. There are a very few in Briuk-lane, 
Spitalfields, now ; that is mostly deserted by 
showmen. The West end is the great resort 
of all ; fur it's there the money lays, and there 
tho showmen abound. We aU know one 
another, and can tell in what part of the 
country the others are. We have intelligence 
by letters from all ports. There's a Punch I 
knows on now is either in the Isle of Man, or 
on his way to it." 

Punch Talk. 

'* * Bona parlore ' means language ; name of 
patter. ' Yeute munjare ' — no food. ♦ Yeute 
Icnte' — no bed. * Yeute bivare ' — no drink. 
I've ' yeute mui^jore,' and * yeute bivare,* and, 
what's worse, * yeute lente.' This is better than 
the costers' talk, because that ain't no slang 
at all, and this is a broken Italian, and much 
higher than the costers' lingo. We know what 
o'clock it is, besides." 

Scene with two Punchmen, 

** * How arc you getting on ?' I might say to 
another Punchman. * Ultra cateva,' he'd say. 
If I was doing a little, I'd say, *Bonar.' Let us 
have a 'shant a bivare' — pot o' beer. If we 
has a good pitch we never tell one another, f(u: 
business is business. If they know we've a 

* bonar' pitch, theyll oppose, which makes it 
bad. 

" • Co. and Co.* is our term for partner, or 

* questa questa,' as well. • Ultray cativa,' — no 
bona. *Slumareys' — figures, frame, scenes, 
properties. » Slum ' — call, or unknown tongue. 

* Ultray cativa slum ' — no t a good oalL ' Tam- 
bora' — drum; that's Italian. « Pipares* — 
pipes. * Questra home a vardiing the dnm, 
scapar it, Orderly' — there's someone a looking 
at the alum. Be off quickly. ' Fielia' is a 
child ; * Home' is a man ; * Dona,' a fSemale ; 
' Gharfering-homa ' — talking-man, policeman. 
Policeman can't interfere with us, we're sanc- 
tioned. Punch is exempt out of the Police 
Act. Some's rery good men, and some on 
'em are tyrants ; but generally speaking they're 
an worry kind to us, and allows us every privi- 
lege. That's a flattery, you know, because 
you'd better not meddle with them. QviUty 
always gains its esteem." 

The man here took a large dasp-knifb ont 
of his breeches pocket. 



48 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



'* This here knife is part of Punch's tools 
or materials, of great utility, for it cannot be 
done without The knife serves for a 
hammer, to draw nails and drive them in 
again, and is very Iiondy on a country road to 
cut a beefsteak — not a mistake — Well, ye can- 
not cut a mistake, can ye ? — and is a real poor 
man's friend to a certainty. 

•* This here is the needle that completes our 
tools {iakez out a needle from inside his waistcoat 
collar,) and is used to sew up our cativa stumps, 
that is. Punch's breeches and Judy's petticoats, 
and his master's old clothes when they're in 
holes. I likes to have everything tidy and re- 
spectable, not knowing where I'm going to per- 
form to, for every day is a new day tLat we never 
see afore and never shall see again ; we do not 
know the produce of this world, being luxurant 
(that's moral), being humane, kind, and 
generous to all our society of life. We mends 
our cativa and slums when they gets teearey (if 
you was to show that to some of our line they'd 
be horrified ; they can't talk so affluent, you 
know, in all kinds of black slums). Under the 
hedgeares, and were no care varder us 
questa — * questa' is a shirt — pronimciation 
for quostra homa. 

** Once, too, when I was scarpering with my 
culling in the monkey, I went to meudare the 
cativa slums in a churchyard, and sat down 
under the tombs to stitch 'em up a bit, thinking 
no one would varder us there. But Mr. 
Crookshank took us off there as we was a 
sitting. 1 know I'm the same party, 'cos Joe 
seen the print you know and draVd quite 
nat'ral, as now in print, with the slumares a 
If^'ing about on all the tombstones round us." 

The Punchman at the Theatre. 

" I used often when a youth to be very fond 
of plays and romances, and frequently went to 
theatres to learn knowledge, of which I think 
there is a deal of knowledge to be leamt from 
those places (that gives the theatres a touch 
— helps them on a bit). I was very partial 
and fond of seeing Ilomeau and Juliet; 
Otheller; and the Knights of St John, and 
tiie Pret^ Gal of Peerlesspool ; Macbeth and 
the Three Dancing Witches. Don Goovamey 
pleased me best of all though. What took me 
uncommon were the funeral purcession of 
Juliet — it affects the heart, and brings us to 
our nat'ral feelings. I took my ghost from 
Bomeau and Juliet; the ghost comes from 
the graye, and it's beautiful. I used to like 
Kean, the principal performer. Oh, admirable ! 
most admirable he were, and especially in 
Otheller, for then he was like my Jim Crow 
here, and was always a great friend and sup- 
porter of his old friend I^imch. Otheller 
murders his wife, ye know, like Punch does. 
OUieller kills her, 'cause the green • eyed 
monster has got into his 'art, and he being so 
extremely fond on her; but Punch kills his'n 
by accident, though he did not intend to do it, 
for the Act of Parliament against husbands 



beating wives was not known in his time. A 
most excellent law that there, for it causes 
husbands and wives to be kind and natural 
one with the other, all through the society of 
life. Judy irritates her husband. Punch, for 
to strike the fatal blow, vich at the same time, 
vith no intention to commit it, not knowing 
at the same time, being rather out of his mind, 
vot he vas about I hope this here will be a 
good example both to men and wives, always 
to be kind and obleeging to each other, and 
that will help them through the mainder with 
peace and happiness, and will rest in peace 
with all mankind (that's moral). It must be 
well worded, ye know, that's my, beauty.* 

Mr, Punches Refreshment, 

" Always Mr. Punch, when he performs to 
any nobleman's juvenile parties, he requires a 
litUe refreshment and sperrits before com- 
mencing, because the peribrmance will go far 
superior. But where teetotallers is he plays 
very mournful, and they don't have the best 
parts of the dramatical performance. Cos 
pump-vater gives a person no heart to exhibit 
his performance, where if any sperrits is given 
to him he woold be sure to give the best of 
satisfaction. I likes where I goes to perform 
for the gennelman to ring the bdl, and say to 
the butler to bring this here party up whatever 
he chooses. But Punch is always moderate ; 
he likes one eye wetted, then the tother 
after; but he likes the best: not particular 
to brandy, for fear of his nose of frtding, 
and afeerd of his losing the colour. All thea- 
trical people, and even the great Edmund 
Kean, used to take a drop before commencing 
perfoi-mance, and Punch must do the same, 
for it enlivens his sperrits, cheers his heart 
up, and enables liim to give the best of satis- 
faction imaginable." 

The Hisiory of Punch. 

'* There, ore hoperas and romamces. A 
romamce is far different to a hopera, you Imow; 
for one is interesting, and the other is dull and 
void of apprehension. The romance is the in- 
teresting one, and of the two I likes it the best; 
but let every one speak as they find — that's 
moral. Jack Sheppard, you know, is a romaznoe, 
and a fine one ; but Punch is a hopera— a hup- 
roar, we calls it, and the most pleasing and most 
interesting of all as was ever produced, Pundi 
never was beat and never wHl, being the oldest 
performance for many hundred years, and now 
handed down to prosperity (there's a fine moral 
in it, too). 

•* The history or origination of Punch— (neyer 
put yerself out of yer way for me, I'm one of 
the happiest men in existence, and gives no 
trouble) — is taken from Italy, and brought over 
to England by Porsini, and exhibited in the 
streets of London for the first time fr^m sixty 
to seventy years a^o ; though he was not the 
first man who exhibited, for there was a female 
here before him, but not to perform at all in 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



40 



IKiblio — name nnknown, but handed down to 
Iffosperitj. She brought the figures and 
frame oyer with her, but nerer showed 
'em— keeping it an unknown secret Porsini 
came frtun Hitalj, and landed in England, 
and exhibited his performance in the streets 
of London, and realized an immense sum 
of money. Porsini always carried a mm- 
bottle in his pocket ('cause Punch is a 
nmi fellow, ye see, and he's very fond of rum), 
and drinked out of this unbeknown behind the 
baize afore he went into the frame, so that 
it shoold lay in his power to give the audience 
a most excellent performance. He was a man 
as gave the greatest satisfaction, and he was 
the first man that brought a street horgan into 
England from Hitaly. His name is handed 
down to prosperity among all classes of society 
mlife. 

"At first, the performance was quite dif- 
ferent then to what it is now. It was all sen- 
timental then, and very touching to the feelings, 
and fall of good morals. The first part was 
only made up of the killing of his wife and 
babby, and the second with the execution of 
the hangman and killing of the devil — that 
was the original drama of Punch, handed down 
to prosperity for 800 years. The killing of 
the devU makes it one of the most moral plays 
as is, for it stops Satan's career of life, and 
then we can all do as we likes afterwards. 

** Porsini hved like the first nobleman in 
the land, and realized an immense deal of 
money during his lifetime ; we all considered 
him to be our forefather. He was a very old 
man when he died. I've heard tell he used 
to take veiy often as much as 10/. a-day, and 
now it's come down to little more than 
10^ ; and he u^ed to sit down to his fowls 
and wine, and the very best of luxuriousness, 
like the first nobleman in the world, such as 
a bottle of wine, and cetera. At last he re- 
duced himself to want, and died in the work- 
house. Ah ! poor fellow, he didn't ought to 
have been let die where he did, but misfortunes 
will happen to all — that's moral. Every one 
in London knowed him : lords, dukes, squires, 
princes, and wagabones, all used to stop and 
laugh at his pleasing and merry interesting per- 
formance ; and a fUnny old fdlow he was, and 
80 fond of his snuff. His name is writ in the 
aimaals of history, and handed down as long 
as grasa grows and water runs — ^for when grass 
eetaes to grow, ye know, and water ceases to 
ton, this worid will be no utility ; that's moral. 

** Pike, the second noted street performer of 
Pmich, was Porsini's apprentice, and he suc- 
eeeded him alter his career. He is handed down 
IS a most elerer exhibitor of Punch and show- 
man — 'caose he used to go about the country 
irith waggons, too. He exhibited the per- 
formance for many years, and at last came to 
decay, and died in the workhouse. He was 
the first inventor of the live dog called Toby, 
■nd a great invention it was, being a great un- 
dertaking of a new and excellent addition to 



I Punch's performance — that's well worded— 
we must place the words in a superior manner 
to please the public. 

" Then if, as you see, all our forefathers 
went to decay aud died in the workhouse, 
what prospect have we to look forward' to 
before us at the present time but to share the 
same fate, unless we meet with sufficient en- 
couragement in this life ? But hoping it wiU 
not be so, knowing tliat there is a new generation 
and a new exhibition, we hope the public at large 
will help and assist, and help us to keep our 
head above water, so that we shall never float 
down the river Thames, to be picked up, 
carried in a shell, coroner's inquest held, 
taken to the workhouse, popped into the 
pithole, and tliere's an end to another poor old 
Punch — that's moral. 

" A footman is far superior to a showman, 
'cause a showman is held to be of low degrade, 
and are thought as such, and so circumstan- 
tiated as to be looked upon as a mendicant ; 
but still we are not, for collecting ain't begging, 
it's only selliciting ; 'cause parsons, you know 
(I gives them a rub here), preaches a sermon 
and collects at the doors, so I puts myself on 
the same footing as they — that's moral, and 
it's optional, ye know. If I takes a hat round, 
they has a plate, and they gets sovereigns 
where we has only browns ; but we are thank- 
ful for all, and always look for encouragement, 
and hopes kind support from all classes of 
society in life. 

" Punch has two kind of performances— 
short shows and long ones, according to 
den are. Short shows are for cativa denare, 
and long pitches for the bona denare. At 
the short shows we gets the ha'pence and 
steps it — scofare, as we say; and at the 
long pitches ve keeps it up for half an 
hour, or an hour, maybe — not particular, if 
the browns tumble in well — for we never 
leave off while Uiere's a major solde (that's a 
halfpenny), or even a quartercen (that's a 
farden). to be made. The long pitches we 
fixes at the principal street-comers of London. 
"We never turn away no think. 

" * Boys, look up your fardens,' says the out- 
side man ; ' it ain't half over yet, and well show 
it all through.' 

" Punch is liko the income-tax gatherer, 
takes all we can get, and never turns away 
nothink — that is our moral. Punch is like 
the rest of the world, ho has got bad morals, 
but very few of them. The showman inside 
the frame says, while he's a working the 
figures, *Culley, how are you a getting on?' 
* Very inferior indeed, I'm sorry to say, master. 
The company, though very respectable, seems 
to have no pence among 'em.' * What quanta 
denare have you chafered ? ' I say. * Soldi 
m%jor quartereen;' tliat means, three half- 
pence three fardens : * that is all I have accu- 
mulated amongst this most respectable and 
niunerous company.' ' Never mind, master, 
the showman will go on ; try the generosity of 



50 



LOSDOS LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR, 



tho pablio once again.' ' Well, I think it's of 
very little utility to collect round again, for 
I've met with that poor encouragement.' * Never 
mind, master, show away. Til go round again 
and chance my luck ; the ladies and gentlemen 
have not seen sofBcient, I think. Well, 
master, I've got tres miyor ' — that is, three half- 
pence — * more, and now it's all over this time. 
Boys, go home and say your prayers,' we says, 
and steps it Such scenes of life we see ! No 
person would hardly credit what we go 
through. We travel often yeute muiyore 
(no food), and oftentimes we're in fluence, ac- 
cording as luck runs. 

" We now principally dwells on orders at 
noblemen's houses. The sebiibs of London 
pays us far better than the busy town of Lon- 
don. When we are dwelling on orders, we 
goes along the streets chirripping * lioo- 
tooerovey ooey-ooey-ooorovey;' that means, 
Any more wanted? that's the pronounciation of 
the call in the old Italian style. Toorovey-to- 
roo-to-roo-toroo-torooey ; that we does when 
we are dwelling for orders mostly at noble- 
men's houses. It brings the juveniols to tlie 
window, and causes the greatest of attractions 
to the children of noblemen's families, both 
rich and poor : lords, dukes, «arls, and squires, 
and gentlefolks. 

•* * Call-hunting,' — that's another term for 
dwelling on orders — pays better than pitch- 
ing ; but orders is wery casual, and pitching 
is a certainty. We're sure of a brown or 
two in the streets, and noblemen's work don't 
come often. We must have it authentick, for 
wo traveU many days and don't succeed in 
getting one ; at other times we are more lluent ; 
but when both combine together, it's merely 
a living, after all's said and done, by great 
exertion and hard perseverance and asidity, 
for the business gets slacker and slacker every 
year, and I expect at last, it will come to the 
dogs — not Toby, because he is dead and gone. 
Peoi)le isn't getting tired with our per- 
formances ; they're more delighted than ever ; 
but they're stingier. Evcrjbody looks twice 
at their money uforo they parts with it. — Thats 
a rub at the mean ones, and they wants it un- 
common bad. 

*'And then, sometimes tho blinds is all 
drawed down, on accoimt of the sun, and that 
cooks our goose ; or, it's too hot for people to 
stop and varder — that means, see. In the 
cold days, when wo pitch, people stops a few 
minutes, drops their browns, and goes away 
about their business, to make room for more. 
The spring of the year is the best of tho four 
seasons for us. 

^ A sailor and a lass holf-scos over we like 
best of aU. He will tip his mag. We always 
ensure a few pence, and sometimes a shilling, 
of them. We are fond of sweeps, too ; they'i-e 
a sure brown, if they've got one, and they'll give 
before many a gentleman. But what we can't 
abide nohow is the shabby genteel — them 
altray cativa, and no mistake : for theyll stand 



with their mouths wide open, like n Bnt- 
cracker, and is never satisfied, and is too grind 
even to laugh. It's too muefa trouble to eazrj 
ha'pence, and they've never no change, or 
else they'd give us some ; in &ct, they've bo 
money at all, they wants it all for, dec.** 

Mr, Pmich'i Fiywm, 

" This is Punch ; this his wife, Judy. They 
never was married, not for this eight hundred 
years — in the original drama. It is a drama 
in two acts, is Punch. There was a Miss 
Polly, and she was Punch's mistress, and dressed 
in silks and satins. Judy catches Punch with 
her, and that there causes all the disturbance. 
Ah, it's a beautiful history ; there's a deal of 
morals with it, and there's a large volume 
wrote about it. It's to be got now. 

" This here is Judy, their only child. She's 
tliree years old come to-morrow, and heir to all 
his estate, which is only a saucepan without a 
handle. 

** Well, then I brings out the Beadle. 

" Punch's nose is the homament to his face. 
It's a great wolue, and the hump on his back 
is never to be got rid on, being bom with him, 
and never to be done without. Punch was 
silly and out of his mind — which is in the 
drama — and the cause of his throwing his 
child out of winder, vich he did. Judy went 
out and left him to nurse the child, and the 
child gets so terrible cross he gets out of 
patience, and tries to sing a song to it, and 
ends by chucking it into the street. 

*' Punch is cunning, and up to all kinds of 
antics, if he ain't out of his mind. Artful like 
My opinion of Punch is, he's very incentrie, 
with good and bad morals attached. Very 
good he was in regard to benevolence ; be- 
cause, you see, in the olden style there was 
a blind man, and he used to come and ax cha- 
riry of him, and Punch used to pity him and 
give him a trifle, you know. This is in the 
olden style, from Porsini you know. 

*' The caning on his face is a great art, and 
there's only one man as does it reg'lar. His 
nose and chin, by meeting together, we thinks 
the great beauty. Oh, he's admirable! — Ho was 
very fond of hisself when he was alive. His 
name was Puneliinello, and we callshim Punch. 
That's partly for short and partly on account 
of tlie boys, for they calls it Punch in hell 0. 
* Oh, there's Punch m hell,' they'd say, and gen- 
nelfolks don't like to hear tlicm words. 

" Punch has very small legs and smnll arms. 
It's quite out of portion, in course; but still it's 
nature, for folks with big bellies generally has 
thin pins of their own. 

" His dress has never been altered ; the use 
of his higli hat is to show his lialf-foolish 
head, and the other parts is after the best 
olden fashion. 

• Judy, you see, is very ugly. She represents 
Pimch ; cos, you see, if the two comes togetlier, 
it generally happens that they're summat 
alike ; and you see it's because his wife were 



LONDON LABOUR AND TBE LONDON POOR. 



51 



10 oglj that lie had a mistress. You see, 
a head like that there wouldn't please most 



Thai 



> miatFeas, PoUj, dances with Punch, jnst 
like a lady in a drawin^f-room. There ain't 
DO pievance between lum and Judy un ac- 
ooant of Miss Polly, as she's called. That's 
the oiden style of all, cos Judy don't know 
nothing about it 

** Mias PoUy was left out because it wasn't 

exaetly moral ; opinions has changed : we ain't 

better, I fancy. Such things goes on, but 

peq^ don't like to let it be seen now, that's 

tiie dilEBreince. 

I "Judy's dress, you see, is far different, bless 

I joa, than Miss Polly's. Judy's, yon see, is 

bed-ftimiture stnfi; and Polly's all silk and 

^ satin. Yes, that's the way of the world, — the 

• wife comes off second-best. 

I ^ The baby's like his father, he's his pet all 

, over tnd the pride of his heart; wouldn't take 

an the world for it, you know, though he does 

throw him out of window. He's got his father's 

I noee, and is his daddy all over, from the top of 

' his head to the tip of his toe. He never was 

' wtaned. 

I ** Pnneh,y3a know, is so red through drink. 
, He'd look nothing if his nose were not deep 
: scarlet. Punch used to drink hard one time, 
I and so he does now if he con get it. ELis 

babby is red all the same, to correspond. 
I ** This is the Beadle of the parish, which 
i tries to quell all disturbances but finds it im- 
possible to do it. The Beadle has got a very 
I reddish nose. He is a ver}- severe, harsh man, 
. but Pvnch conimers him. Ye see, he's diessed 
I in the olden stf le — a brown coat, with gold lace 
and cock'd hat and all. He has to take Punch 
up for Idlfing his wife and babby ; but Pimch 
I beats the Beadle, for every time ho comes up 
I he knodn hxm down. 

I *' This next one is the merry Clown, what 

tries his rig with Punch, up and down — that's 

', a rhyme, you see. This is the merry Clown, 

I that tries his tricks all round. This here's 

j the new style, for we dwells more on the 

eomieal now. In the olden time we used to 

I have a aearamouch with a chalk head. He 

I laed to torment Punch and dodge bim about, 

tin at last Punch used to give him a crock on 

the head and smash it all to pieces, and then 

I cry out—* Oh dear. Oh dear ; I didn't go to 

do it — it was an accident, done on purpose.' 

But now we do with Clown and the sausages. 

I Scaramouch never talked, only did the ballet 

business, dumb motions ; but the Clown speaks 

^ theatrical, comic business and seutiuiental. 

Pooch bdng silly and out of his mind, the 

, Gown persuades Punch that he wants some- 

< thing to eat. The Clown gets into the public- 

I bouse to try what ho can steal. He pokes his 

head out of the window and says, ' Here you 

tre, here you are ;• and then he asks Punch 

I to give him a helping hand, and so makes 

Punch steal the. sausages. They're the very 

I best poik-wadding sausages, made six years 



ago and warranted fresh, and 11 keep for 
ever. 

** This here's the poker, about which the 
Clown says, ' Would yon like something hot V 
Punch says * Yes,' and then the Clown bums 
Punch's nose, and aits down on it himself and 
bums his breeches. Oh, it's a jolly lark when 
I shows it Clown says to Punch, * Don't 
make a noise, you'll wake the landlord up.' 
The landlord, you see, pretends to be 



" Clown says, • You mustn't hollar.' * No,* 
says Punch, *I wont;' and still he hollars all 
the louder. 

" This is Jim Crow : ye see he's got a chain 
but he's lost 'his watch. He let it fall on Fish- 
street Hill, the other day, and broke it all to 
pieces. He's a nigger. He says, * Me like 
ebeiy body ;' not ' every,' but * ebery,' cos that's 
nigger. Instead of Jim Crow we used formerly 
to show the Grand Turk of Sinoa, called 
ShallabaUah* Sinoa is nowhere, for he's only 
a substance yer know. I can't find Sinoa, 
although W^e tried, and thinks it's at the 
bottom of the sea where the black fish lays. 

" Jim Crow spnmg from Bice from America, 
he brought it over here. Then, ye see, being 
a novelty, all classes of society is pleased. 
Everybody liked to hear *■ Jim Crow' sung, and 
so we had to do it. The people used to stand 
round, and I used to take some good money 
with it too, sir, on Hay-hill. Everybody's 
funny now-a-days, and they like comic busi- 
ness. They won't listen to anything sensible 
or sentimental, but they wants foolishness. 
The bigger fool gets the most money. Many 
people says, * What a fool, you must lookT 
at Uiat. I put my head back. *■ Come on.' * I 
shan't. I shall stop a Httle longer.' 

** Tliis is the Ghost, that appears to Punch 
for destroying his wife and child. She's the 
ghost of the two together, or else, by rights, 
there ought to be a little ghost as well, but we 
should have such a lot to carry about. But 
Punch, being surprised at the ghost, falls into 
exstericks — represented as such. Punch is 
really terrified, for he trembles like a hospen 
leaf, cos he never killed his wife. He's got 
no eyes and no teeth, and can't see out of his 
mouth ; or cannot, rather. Them cant words 
ain't grammatical. When Punch sees the 
Ghost he lays dov^ii and kicks the bucket, and 
represents he's dead. 

" The Ghost is very effective, when it comes 
up very solemn and moumfiil-like in Bomeau 
and Juliet. I took it from that, yer know : 
there's a ghost in that when she comes out of 
the grave. Punch sits down on his seat and 
sings his merry jirng of olden times, ahd don't 
see the Ghost till he gets a tap on the cheek, 
and then he thinks it's somebody else ; instead 
of that, when he turns round, he's most ter- 
rible alarmed, putting his arms up and out. 
The drum goes very shaky when the Ghost 
comes up. A little bit of ' The Dead March in 
Saul,' or * Home, sweet Home :' anything like 



Ko. LVIIL 



'L 



62 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



that, slow. We none on us likes to be hurried 
to the grave. 

** I now takes up the Doctor. This is the 
Doctor that cures all sick maids and says, 
* Taste of my drugs before you die, you'll say 
tliey are well made.' The Doctor always wears 
a white ermine wig : rabbit skin wouldn't do, 
we can't go so common as that; it's most costly, 
cos it was made for him. 

^Aflar the Ghost has appeared Punch falls 
down, and calls loudly for the Doctor, and 
offers 50,000/. for one ; thei^ the Doctor feels 
his pulse and says, * Very unfortunate misfor- 
tune I I have forgot my spectacles, cos I never 
had none. I can see all through it — ^the man's 
not dead. 

" The Doctor gives Punch physic. That's 
stick - lickerish wot he subscribes for him; 
but Punch don't like it, though it's a capital 
subscription for a cure for the head-ache. (I 
dare say, Mr. Mayhew, sir, you thinks me a 
very funny fellow.) Punch tries to pay the 
Doctor back with his own physic, but he 
misses him every time. Doctors don't like 
to take their own stuff anyhow. 

*' This is the Publican as Punch steals the 
sausages from ; he used to be the Grand Turk 
of Senoa, or Shallaballah, afore the fashion 
changed — for a new world always wants new 
things : the people are like babies, they must 
have a fresh toy ye know, and every day is 
a new day that wc never seed before. — There's 
a moral for you ; it'll make a beautiful book 
when you comes to have the morals explained. 
Te see you might still fancy Punch was the 
Grand Turk, for he's got his moustaches still ; 
butthe/re getting so fashionable that even 
the publicans wears 'em, so it dont matter. 

'* This tall figure is the hangman and finisher 
of the law, as does the business in the twink- 
ling of a bed-post. He's like the income-tax 
gatherer, he takes all in and lets none out, for 
a guilty conscience needs no accusing. Punch 
being condemned to suffer by the laws of his 
countiy, makes a mistake for once in his life, 
and always did, and always wUl keep a-doing 
it. Therefore, by cunningness and artfUlness, 
Punch persuades Jock ketch to show him 
the wa^ — which ho very * willingly doeth' — to 
slip his head into the noose, when Punch 
takes the opportunity to pull the rope, after 
he has shown him the way, and is exempt for 
once more, and quite free. 

** Now this is the coffin, and this is the pall. 
Punch is in a great way, after he's hung the 
man, for assistance, when h^ calls his favour- 
ite friend Joey Grimaldi, the clown, to aid and 
assist him, because he's afeard that he'll be 
token for the crime wot he's committed. Then 
the body is placed in the coffin ; but as the un- 
dertaker ain't made it long enough, they have 
to double him up. The undertaker requests 
permission to git it altered. Ye see it's a royal 
coffin, with gold, and silver, and copper nails ; 
with no plates, and scarlet cloth, cos that's 
royalty. The undertaker's forgot the lid of 



the coffin, ye see : we don't use lids, cos it 
makes them lighter to carr}'. 

" This is the pall that covers him over, ta 
keep the flies from biting him. We call it 
St. Paul's. Don't you see, palls and Paul's is 
the same word, with a < to it: it's comic. 
That 'ud make a beautiful play, that would. 
Then we take out the figures, as I am doing* 
now, from the box, and they exaunt with a 
dance. * Here's somebody a-coming, make* 
haste ! ' the Clown says, and then they exaunt, 
you know, or go off. 

** This here is tlie Scaramouch that danceff 
without a head, and yet has got a head that'll 
reach from here to St, Paul's; but it's scarceljr 
ever to be seen. Cos his father was my 
mother, don't ye see. Punch says that it's a 
beautiful figure. Pve only made it lately. 
Instead of him we used to have a nobody. 
The figure is to be worked with four heads, 
that's to say one coming out of each arm, one 
from the body, and one from the neck. ( He 
touches each part as he speaks.) Scara- 
mouch is old-fashioned newly revived. He 
comes up for a finisli, ycr know. This figure's 
all for dancing, Uie same as the ghost is, and 
don't say nothing. Punch being surprised to 
see such a thing, don't know what to make 
on it. Ho bolts away, for ye see (whispering 
and putting up two hands first, and then 
using the other, as if working Scaramouch), 
I wants my two hands to work him. After 
Punch goes away the figure dances to amuse 
the public, then he exaunts, and Ptmch comes 
up again for to finish the remainder part of his 
performance. He sings as if he'd forgot all 
that's gone before, and wishes only to amuse 
the public at large. That's to show his siOi- 
ness and simplicity. He sings comic or sen- 
timental, such as 'God save the Queen ;'-i- 
that's sentimental ; or * Getting up stairs and 
playing on the fiddle;' or * Dusty Bob;* or 

* Rory O'More, with the chill off;' — ^them's all 
comic, but *■ the Queen's ' sentimental. 

" This here is Satan, — we might say the 
devil, but that ain't right, and gdnnelfolks dont 
like such words. He is now commonly called 

* Spring-heeled Jack ; ' or the * Koosian Bear,' 
— that's since the war. Ye see he's chained up 
for ever ; for if yer reads, it says somewhere 
in the Scripture that he's bound down far 
two thousand years. I used to read it myself 
once; and the figure shows ye that he's 
chained up never to be let loose no more. 
He comes up at the last and shows himself to 
Punch, but it ain't continued long, yer know, 
the figure being too frightful for people to see 
without being frightened; unless we are on 
comic business and showing -him as Spring* 
heeled Jack, or the Boosian Bear; and then 
we keeps him up a long time. Punch kills 
him, puts him on the top of his stick, and 
cries, * Hooray ! the devil's dead, and we can 
all do as we like ! Good-by, farewell, and it's 
all over ! ' But the curtain don't come down, 
cos we haven't got none. 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



53 



"This here's the belL Stop a minute, I 
fngot: this is Punch's comic music, com- 
monly called a peanner sixty, — not peanner 
forty, cos Punch wants something out of the 
common way, — and it plays fifty tunes all at 
CBoe. This is the bell which he uses to rattle 
in the publican's ears when he's asleep, and 
wakes his children all up after the nuss as 
put 'em to bed. All this is to show his fool- 
ishness and simplicity; for it's one of his 
feolish tricks and frolics for to amuse him- 
self: but he's a chap as won't stand much 
nonsense fh>m other people, because his 
morals are true, Just, right, and sound ; al- 
Ihongh he does kill his wife and baby, knock 
down the Beadle, Jack Ketch, and the Grand 
SigDor, and puts an end to the very devil 
Imnself.'' 

Deteripium of Frame and Proscenium. 

« * Indies and gents,' the man says outside 
the show, afore striking up, *■ I'm now going 
10 exhibit a preformance worthy of your no 
tioe, and far superior to anythmk you hever 
hid a hopportunity of witnessing of before.' 
(I am a doing it noiv, sir, as if I was address- 
ing a company of ladies and gentlemen, he 
added, by way of parenthesis.) ' This is 
the original preformance of Punch, ladies 
and gents ; and it will always gain esteem. I 
■m going to hintroduce a preformance worthy 
of your notice, which is the dramatical pre- 
fbrmance of the original and old-established 
preiSormaiice of Punch, experienced many 
jear. I merely call your attention, ladies and 
geotB, to the novel attraction which I'm now 
•bout to hintroduce to you. 

•• * I only merely place this happyratus up 
to inform yon what I am about to preform to 
you. The preformance will continue for up- 
wards of one hour — provising as we meets 
wUk smfident encouragement. (That's business, 
ye know, master ; just to give 'em to under- 
stand that we wants a little assistance afore 
we begins.) It wUl surpass anythink you've 
bad the hopportunity of witnessing of bofore in 
all the hannuals of history. I hope, ladies and 
gents, I am not talking too grammatical for 
some of you.* 

•• That tliere is the address, sir," he con- 
tbned, ^ what I always gives to the audience 
outside before I begins to preform — just to 
let the resx>ectable company know that I am a 
working for to get my living by honest 
I indnstiy. 

•••Those ladies and gents/ he then went 
on, as if addressing an imaginary crowd, 
• what are a-standing round, a-looking at the 
piefbrmance, will, I hope, be as willing to give 
«s tl^ is to see. There's many a lady and 
lent now at the present moment standing 
aroond me, perhaps, whose hearts mi^ht be 
food though not in their power.' (This is 
PttDch's patter, yer know, outside ; and when 
yoQ has to say sll that yourself, you wants the 
aflhiency of a methodist parson to do the 



talk, I can tell ye.) * Now boys, look up yer 
ha'pence ! Who's got a farden or a ha'penny ? 
and I'll be the first brown towards it. I aint 
particular if it's a half-crown. Now, my lads, 
feel in your pockets and see if you've got an 
odd copper. Here's one, and who'll be the 
next to make it even ? We means to show it 
all through, provising we meets with sufficient 
encouragement.' (I always sticks to them 
words, * sufficient encouragement') 'You'll 
have the pleasure of seeing Spring-heeled 
Jack, or the Hoosian Bear, and the comical 
scene with Joey the clown, and the fryingpan 
of sassages!' (That's a kind of gaggery.) 
" I'll now just explain to you, sir, the difie- 
rent parts of the frame. This here's the 
letter-cloth, which shows you all what we per- 
forms. Sometimes we has wrote on it — 

THE DOMINION OF FANCY, 

or. 

Punch's Opera : 

that fills up a letter-doth; and Punch is 
a funcy for every person, you know, who- 
ever may fancy it I stands inside here on 
this footboard ; and if there's any one up 
at the winders in the street, I puts my 
foot longways, so as to keep ray nob out of 
sight This here is the stage front, or 
proceedings (proscenium), and is painted over 
with flags and banners, or any dififerent things. 
Sometimes there's George and the Dragging, 
and the Kile Queen's Arms, (we can have them 
up when we like, cos we are sanctioned, and 
I've played afore the rile princes). But any- 
thing for fireshness. People's tiroo '-i looking 
at the Bile Arms, and wants something new 
to cause attraction, and so on. 

** This here's the playboard, where sits Punch. 
The scenes behind are representing a garding 
scene, and the side-scenes is a house and a 
cottage — they're for the exaunts, you know, 
just for convenience. The back scene draws 
up, and shows the prison, vnth the winders 
all cut out, and the bars showing, the same as 
there is to a gaol; though I never was in 
one in my life, and I'll take good care I never 
shall be. 

'* Our speaking instrument is an unknown 
secret, cos it's an • unknown tongue,' that's 
known to none except those in our own pur- 
fession. It's a hiastrument like this which I 
has in my hand, and it's tuned to music 
We has two or three kinds, one for out-doors, 
one for in-doors, one for speaking, one for 
singing, and one that's good for nothing, ex- 
cept selling on the cheap. They ain't whistles, 
but * calls,' or * unknown tongues ; ' and with 
them in the mouth we can pronounce each 
word as plain as a parson, and with as much 
affluency. 

" The great difficulty in preforming Punch 
consists in speaking with this call in the 
mouth — cos it's produced from the lungs : it's 
all done from there, and is a great strain, and 
requires sucktion — and that's brandy-and- 



5i 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOIL 



-nater, or smnmAt to moisten the whistle 
with. 

** We're bound not to drink water by onr 
purfession, when we can set anything stronger. 
It weakens the nerves, but we always like to 
keep in the bounds of propriety, respectability, 
and decency. I dnnas my beer with my call 
in my mouth, and never takes it out, cos it ex- 
poses it, and the boys (hang 'em I) is so in- 
qoiaitive. They runs after us, and looks up 
m our face tosee howwe speaks ; but we drives 
•tem away with civility. 

** Punch is a dramatical performance, sir, in 
two acta, patronised by the nobility and gentry 
at Urge. We don't drop the scene at the end 
of the first act, the drum and pipes strikes up 
instead. The first act we consider to end 
with Punch being took to prison for the 
murder of his wife and baby. You can pick 
out a good many Pnnoh preformers, without 
getting one so well versed as I am in it; they in 
general makes such a muifiug concern of it. 
A drama, or dramatical preform ance, we calls 
it, of the original preformance of Punch. It 
ain't a tragedy ; it's both comic and sentimental, 
in which way we think proper to preform it. 
There's comic parts, as with the Clown and 
Jim Crow, and cetera— that's including a 
deiJ more, yer know. 

" It's a pretty play Punch is, when preformed 
well, and one of the greatest novelties in the 
world ; and most ancient ; handed down, too, 
for many hundred years. 

** The prison scene and the baby is what 
we calls the sentimental touches. Some folks 
where I nreforms will have it most sen- 
timental, m the original style. Them families 
is generally sentimental theirselves. To 
these sentimental folks I'm obliged to pre- 
form werry steady and werry slow ; they 
won't have no ghost, no coffin, and no devil ; 
and that's what I call spiling the preformance 
entirely. Ha, ha ! " he added, with a deep sigh, 
'* it's the march of intellect that's a doing all 
this : it is, sir. 

" Other folks is all for the comic, specially 
the street people ; and then we has to dwell on 
the bell scene, and the nursing the baby, and 
the frying-pan, and the sossages, and Jim 
Crow. 

•* A few years ago Toby was all the go. 
Formerly the dog was only a stuffed figure, 
and it was Mr. Pike what first hit upon intro- 
ducing a live animal ; and a great hit it war. 
It made a surprising alteration in the exhibition, 
for till lately the preformance was culled Punch 
and Toby as well. We used to go about the 
streets with three dogs, and that was ad- 
mirable, and it did uncommon well as a new 
novelty at first, but we can't get three dogs to 
do it now. The mother of them dogs, ye see, 
was a singer, and had two pups what was 
singers too. Toby was wanted to sing and 
smoke a pipe as well, shake hands as well as 
seize Puach by the nose. When Toby was 
quiet, ye see, air, it was the timidation of 



Punch's stick, for directly he put it down he 
flew at him, knowing at the same time that 
Punch was not his master. 

^ Punch commences with a song. He doea 
roo-too-rooey, and sings the ' Lass of 0-owrie' 
down below, and then he comes up, saying, 
*Ooy-ey; Oh, yes, I'm a coming. How do 
you do, ladies and gents ? ' — ladies alwi^s first •, 
and then he bows many times. *• Vm so hiqppj 
to see you,' he says ; ' Your most obedient 
most humble, and dutiful servant, Mr. Pnnch«' 
(Ye see I can talk as afliuent as can be with 
the call in my mouth.) ' Ooy-ey, I wishes you 
all well and happy/ Then Pimch says to Ihft 
drum -and- pipes man, as he puts his hand on^ 
' How do you do, master? — play up ; play up ft 
hornpipe : I'm a most hexceUent dancer ;' and 
then Punch dances. Then ye see him 
a - dancing the hornpipe ; and after that 
Punch says to the pipes, ' Master, I shall 
call my wife up, and have a dance ; so he sings 
out, * Judy, Judy ! my pratty creetur ! come up 
stairs, my darling! I want to speak to you'^ 
and he knocks on the play-board.— ^ Judy I 
Here she comes, bless her little heart!' 

Enter Jxt^t. 

Punch, What a sweet ereature! what • 
handsome nose and chin ! {He pott her om 
the /ace very gently.) 

Judy. {Slapping him.) Keep quiet, do! 

Punch, Don't be cross, my dear, but give mo 
a kiss. 

Judg. Oh, to be sure, my love. [Z^^y kiu. 

Punch. Bless your sweet lips ! {Huggim§ 
her.) This is melting moments. I'm very 
fond of my wife ; we must have a dance. 

Judy. Agi'eed. \_They both < 

Punch, Get out of the way ! you don't dance 
well enough for me. {He hits heron the note.} 
Go and fetch the baby, and mind and take 
care of it, and not hurt it. [Judg examntu 

Judg. {Returning hack with baby.) Taka 
care of the baby, while I go and cook the 
dumplings. 

Punch. {Striking Judg with his right hand.) 

Get out of the way ! I'll take care of the baby. 

[Judy exauntu 

Punch {sits dottm and simgs to the baby) — 

"Huah-«-by, baby, upon the tree-top, 
Wh^u the wind blows the oiudle will rock ; 
When the bouffh breaks the cradle will fidl, 
Down oomes the baby and cradle and olL" 

[Baby crietm 

Punch. {Shaking it.) What a cross boy! 
{He tags it dawn on the play-board^ and roll» ii 
backwards and forwards, to rock U to ileep, and 
sings again.) 

*' Oh, slumber, my darlinf;, thy sire k a kfii^i^ 
Thy mother's a lady so lovely and bright ; 
Tho hills and the dales, and the tow'rs which you sec. 
They all shall belong, my dear creature, to thee." 

(Punch continues rocking the chikL It Miii 
cries, and he takes it up in his omu, saying. 
What a cross child! I oant a-beor cross 



ZOKDON IsJLBOUB AND THE LONDON POOR. 



00 



ekiUreiu Then he vehemently shakes tt, and 
knockt iCt head vp against the side of the pro- 
ceeding* several timeSy representing to kill t/, and 
%e them tkrtncs U out of the vrinder.) 

Enter Jnmr. 

Judg. Where's the haby f 

Fundi, {In a lemonchotv tone.) I have had 
a ndsfortime ; the child was so terrible cross, 
I throwed it out of the winder. {Lemontaiion 
(fJudg for the loss of her dear child. She goes 
into atterisks, and then excites and fetches a cudgel^ 
end commences beaUng Punch over the head,) 

Punch, DoDt be cross, my dear : I didnt go 
to do it 

Judg. ni pay yer for throwing the child 
out of the winder. {She keeps on giving him 
knocks of the head^ hut Punch snatches the stick 
owy, and commences an attack upon his w'yfe^ 
end hfots her severely,) 

Judy, m go to the constable, and have 
joa locked up. 

Punch, Go to the de^^L I don't care where 
you go. Get out of the way ! {Judg exaunls, 
md Punch then sings, ** Cherry ripe" or " Cheer ^ 
logs, cheer,'* All before is sentimental, now this 
here's comic. Punch goes through his roo-too-to- 
roory, and then the Beadle comes up.) 

Beadle, Hi ! hallo, my boy ! 

Punch, Hello, my boy. {He gives him a wipe 
over the head with his sticky u:hich knocks him 
down, but he gets up again.) 

Beadle, Do you know, sir, that I've a special 
order in my pocket to take you up ? 

Punch, And Pve a special order to knock 
you down. {He knocks him down with simplicity ^ 
but not tpith bruUUUy,for the jnvcnial brandies 
don't tike to see severity practised.) 

Beadle. {Coming up again.) D'ye know, my 
boy, that Pve an order to take you up ? 

Punch, And I've an order I tell yo to knock 
you down. {He sticks him. Punch is a tyrant 
to the Beadle, ye know, and if he was took up he 
wouldnH go through his rambles, so in course he 
isn't.) 

Beadle, IVe a warrant for yon, my boy. 

Punch, (Striking him.) And that's a warrant 
for you, my boy. {The Beadle's a determined 
man, ye know, and resolved to go to the ends of 
justice as far as possible in his power by special 
aulhority, so a quarrel enslioos between them.) 

Beadle, You are a blackguard. 

Punch, So are you. 

{The Beadle hits Punch on the nose, and takes 
(ke law in his own Imndsm Punch takes it up mo- 
meuiary; strikes the Beadle, and a fight ensluKts, 
Tkt Beadle, faint and exhausted, gets up once 
mare: then he strikes Punch over the nose, which 
» returned pro and con, 

Beadle, That's a good 'un. 

PmtdL That's a better. 

Beadle* That's a topper. {He hits him jolly 
hsrd,) 

PuntA, (With his cudgel.) That's a wopper. 
{Be knocks him out qf his senses, and the Beadle 



Enter Merrt Clowx. 



Punch sings ** Getting up Stairs,** in quick time, 

while tlu Clown is coming up. Clown dances 

round Punch in all directions, and Punch with 

his cudgel is determined to catch him if possible. 

Clown. No bono, allez tooti sweet, Mounseer. 
Look out sharp ! Make haste I catch 'em alive ! 
Here we are! how are youf good morning! 
don't yon wish you may get it f Ahl cowai^ 
strike a white man ! {Clown keeps bobbing vp 
and down, and Punch trying to hit all the tkne 
till Punch is exhausted nearly.) 

(The Clo^n, ye see, sir, is the best friend 
to Puncli, he carries him through all his tricks, 
and he's a great favorite of Punch's. He's too 
cunning for him though, and knows too much 
for him, so they both shake hands and make 
it up. ) 

Clown, Now it's all fair ; ain't it. Punch ? 

Punch, Yes. 

Clown, Now I can begin again. 

(You see, sir, the Clown gets over Punch 
altogether by his artful ways, and then he be- 
gins the same tricks over agiun ; that is, if we 
wants a long performance ; if not, we cuts it 
off at the other pint But I'm tellkig you the 
real original style, sir.) 

Clown. Good! you cim't catch me. 

{Punch gives him one whack of the head, and 
Clown exaunts, or goes off.) 

Enter Jm Crow 
Jim sings ** Buffalo Gals,** while coming up, and 

on entering Punch hits him a whack of the 

nose backhanded, and almost breaks it. 

Jim. What for you do that? Me nigger! 
me like de white man. Him did break my 
nose. 

Punch. Humbly beg your pardon, I did not 
go to help it. 

(For as it had been done, you know, it wasn't 
likely he could help it after he'd done it — he 
couldn't take it away from him again, could 
he?) 

Jim, "Me beg you de pardon. (For ye see, 
sir, he tliinks he's offended Punch.) Nebber 
mind, Punch, come and sit down, and we'll 
hab a song. 

Jim Crow prepares to sing. 

Punch, Bravo, Jimmy! sing away, my boy— 
give us a stunner while you're at it. 

Juc sings. 



** I'm a roarer oa the fiddle^ 
Down in tho ole Viiviuny ; 
And I plays it scientific, 
like Mnuf fr^ y Faganinni." 

Punch, {Tapping him on the head.) Bravol 
well done, Jimmy ! give us another bit of a 
song. 

Jim, Yes, me wilL ISwgs again. 



•• Oh. lubly Rom. Sambo c 

Do&tyoa hear tho bapJoT ' 

Tum, tiun, ttun 1 " 

Jim hits Fundi with hia head over the 



dO 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



nose, as if butting at him, while he repefti^ 
turn -turn -turn. Punch offended, beats him 
with the stick, and sings — 

" Lubly Bom, Sambo coom ; 
hon't you hew the bai^o t 
Turn, turn, turn!** 

Jim, (Ruing.) Oh mi! what for you strike 
a nigger? {Holding up hi* ieg.) Me will poko 
your eye out. Ready — shoot — bang — fire. 
\8havei his leg into Punch's eye,) 

Punch, He's poked my eye out! I'll lotjk 
out for him for the fUture. 

Jim Crow excites, or oxaunis. Exauiit 
we calls it in our purfession, sir, — that's goin^ 
away, you know. He's done his port, yon 
know, and ain't to appear again. 

Judy has died through Punch's ill usagr 
after going for the Beadle, for if she'd done ih< * 
before she could'nt ha' fetched the constabli, 
you know, — certainly not. The beholders 
only behove her to bo dead though, for sin- 
comes to life again aflerwards, because, if s)ji 
was dead, it would do away with Punch's wiit* 
altogether — for Punch is doatingly fond <>f 
her, though it's only his fun after all's said 
and done. 

The Ghost, you see, is only a repersentft 
tion, as a timidation to soflen his bad morals, 
80 that ho shouldn't do the like again. Thi> 
Ghost, to be sure, shows that she's really dea^l 
for a time, but it's not in the imitation ; fur 
if it was, Judy's ghost (the figure) would W 
made like her. 

The babby's lost altogether. It's killeil. 
It is supposed to be destroyed entirely, but 
taken care offer the next time when calk J 
upon to preform — as if it were in the nest 
world, you know, — that's moral. 

Enter Ghost. Punch sings meanwhile' 
* Home, sweet Home.' (This is original.) Tbo 
Ghost rcpcrsents Uie ghost of Judy, becaunc 
he's killed his wife, don't you see, ilie Ghoss) 
making her appearance; but Punch don't know 
it at the moment. Still he sits down tireil, 
and sings in the comer of the frame the son^ 
of ** Home, sweet Home," wliile the Sperrit ap- 
pears to him. 

Punch turns round, sees the Ghost, ami 
is most terribly timidated. He begins !<> 
shiver and shake in great fear, bringing his 
guilty conscience to his mind of what he'n 
been guilty of doing, and at last he foils down 
in a tit of frenzy. Kicking, screeching, hoL 
laring, and shouting " Fifty thousand pounds 
for a doctor ! " Then he turns on his side, anil 
draws hisself double with the screwmatics in 
his gills. IGhost ezcitex. 

Enter Doctob. 
Punch is represented to be dead. This is 
the dying speech of Punch. 

Doctor. Dear met bless my heart! here' 
hl\'e I been running as fast as ever I could 
walk, and veiy near tumbled over a straw. I 
heard somebody call most lustily for a doctor. 
Dear me {looking at Punch in all directions, and 



examining his hodg), this is my perUckler friend 
Mr. Punch ; poor man ! how pale he looks ! 
I'll feel his pulse {counts his pulse) — 1, 2, 14, 
0, 11. Hi ! Punch, Punch, are yoa dead? are 
you dead ? are you dead ? 

Punch. {Hitting him with his right hand oper 
Vie nose, and knocking him back.) Yes. 

Doctor. (Rubbing his nose with his hand,) 
I never heard a dead man speak befiore. 
Punch, you are not dead ! 
Punch. Oh, yes I am. 
Doctor. How long have you been dead t 
Punch. About six weeks. 
Doctor. Oh, you're not dead, you're only 
poorly; I must fetch you a little reviving 
medicine, such as some stick-lickrish and 
I balsam, and extract of shillalagh. 

Punch. (Rising.) Make haste — (he gives 
I the Doctor a wipe on the nose) — make haste 
and fetch it. ^Doctor exaunts. 

Punch. The Doctor going to get me some 
I physic ! I'm very fond of brundy-and- water, 
i and rum-punch. I want my physic ; the 
Doctor never brought me no physic at alL 
I wasn't ill; it was only my fan. (Doctor 
reappears with the physic-sticky and he whacks 
Punch over the head no harder than he U able, 
and cries — "There's physic I physic! physic! 
physic ! physic I pills ! balsaam ! stick- 
lickerish ! " 

Punch. (Rising and rttbbing his head against 
the wing.) Yes; it is sdck-lickrish. 

(Ah ! it's a pretty play, sir, when it's showed 
well — that it is — its delightful to read the 
morals ; I am wery fond of reading the morals, 
I am.) 

Punch. (Taking the stick from the Doctor.) 
Now, I'll give you physic ! j)hysic ! physic ! 
(He strikes at the Doctor, but misses him every 
time.) The Doctor don't like his own stuff. 

Punch. (Presenting his stick, gun-fashion, at 
Doctor's head.) I'll shoot ye — one, two< three. 
Doctor, (Closing with Punch.) Come to gaol 
along with me. 

(He saves his own life by closing with 
Punch. He's a desperate character is Punch, 
though ho means no harm, ye know.) A 
struggle enshoos, and the Doctor calls for 
help, Punch being too powerful for him. 

Doctor. Come to gaol ! You shall repent for 
all your past misdeeds. Help! assistance! 
help, in the Queen's name ! 

(He's acting as a constable, the Doctor 
is, though he's no business to do it; but 
he's acting in self-defence. He didn't know 
Punch, but he'd heard of lib^ transactions, 
and when he came to examine him, he found 
kt was the man. The Doctor is a very sedate 
kind of a person, and wishes to do good to 
all classes of the community at large, espe- 
inally with his physic, which he gives gratis 
lor nothink at all. The physic is called 
' Head-e-cologne, or a sure cure for the head- 
ache.') 

Re-enter Beadis. (Punch and the Doctor Mtiil 
struggling together,) 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



67 



BeadU. {Closing with them.) Hi, hi! this 
it him : behold the head of a traitor ! Come 
along ! come to gaol I 

AmcA. {A kicking.) I will not go. 

Beadle. {Sfwuting.) More help! more help! 
more help ! help ! help ! Come along to gaol I 
come along! come along! More help! more 
kelp! 

(Oh ! it's a good lark just here, sir, but 
tremendous hard work, for there's so many 
figures to work — and all struggling, too, — and 
yon have to work them all at once. This is 
comic, this is.) 

BfodU. More help ! be quick ! be quick ! 
Re-enter JiM Cnow. 

Jim Crow. Come de long I come de long ! 
come de long ! me nigger, and you beata me. 

[Eiaunts all^ Punch still singing ouiy '^I'll 
not go." 

END OF FinST ACT. 

Change of Scene for Second Act. 
Scene draws up, and discovers the exterior 
of a prison, with Punch peeping through the 
bars, and singing a merry song of the merry 
bells of £nglimd, all of the olden time. 
(That's an olden song, you know; it's old 
ancient, and it's a moral, — a moral song, you 
know, to show that Punch is repenting, but 
pleased, and yet don't care nothink at all about 
it, for he's frolicsome, and on the height of his 
frolic and amusement to all the juveniles, old 
and young, rich and poor. "We must put all 
classes together.) 

Enter Hangman Jack Ketch^ or Mr. O has all. 

That's Jack Ketch's name, you know ; he takes 
all, when they gets in his clutches. We 
mustn't blame him for he must do his duty, 
for the sheri£fs is so close to him.) 

IPrejfaraiion commences for the execution of 
Punch, Punch is still looking through 
the bars of Newgate. 

The last scene as I hod was Temple-bar 
Scene; it was a prison once, ye know; that's 
the old ancient, ye know, but I never let the 
others see it, cos it shouldn't become too 
pubhc But I think Newgate is better, . in 
the new edition, though the prison is sus- 
pended, it being rather too terrific for the be- 
holder. It was the old ancient style ; the sen- 
tence is passed upon him, but by whom not 
known ; he's not tried by one person, cos no- 
body can't 

Jmck Ketch, Now, Mr. Punch, you are going 
to be executed by the British and Foreign 
IcwB of this and other countries, and you are 
to be hung up by the neck until you are dead 



Pkmeh, What, am I to die three times ? 

Jack. No, DO ; you're only to die once. 

Punch. Hoi* is that? you said I was to be 
hung up by the neck till I was dead— dead — 
dead? Toa can't die three times. 

JadL Oh, no ; only once. 



Punch. Why, you said dead — dead — dead. 

Jack. Yes ; and when you are dead — dead-^ 
dead — ^you will be quite dead. 

Punch. Oh ! I never knowed that before. 

Jack. Now, prepare yourself for execution. 

Punch. What for? 

Jack. For killing your wife, throwing your 
poor dear little innocent baby out of the win- 
dow, and striking the Beadle unmercifully over 
the head with a mop-stick. Come on. 

lExaunt Hangman behind Scene j and re-enttTt 
leading Punch slowly forth to the foot 
of tite gallows. Punch comes most wili- 
ingly, having no sense. 

Jack. Now, my boy, here is the corfin, here 
is the gibbet, and here is tbe pall. 

Punch. There's the corfee-shop, there's 
giblets, and there's St. Paul's. 

Jack. Get out, young foolish! Now then, 
place your head in here. 

Punch. What, up here ? 

Jack. No; a little lower down. 

(There's quick business in this, you know ; 
this is comic — a little comic business, this is.) 

Punch. {Dodging tite noose.) WTiat, here ? 

Jack. No, no; in there {showing the noose 
again). 

Punch. This way ? 

Jack, No, a little more this way ; in there. 
IPunch falls down^ and pretends he's dead. 

Jack. Get up, you're not dead. 

Punch. Oh, yes I am. 

Jack. But I say, no. 

Punch. Please, sir, {bowing to the hangman) 
— (Here he's an hypocrite ; he wants to 
exempt himself,)— do show me the way, for I 
never was hung before, and I don't know the 
way. Please, sir, to show me the way, and I'll 
feel extremely obliged to you, and return you 
my most sincere thanks. 

(Now, that's well worded, sir; it's well put 
together; that's my beauty, that is; I am 
obliged to study my language, and not have any 
thing vulgar whatsoever. All in simplicity, so 
that the young children may not be taught 
anything wrong. There am't nothing to be 
learnt from it, because of its simphcity.) 

Jack. Very well ; as you're so kind and con- 
descending, I will certainly oblige you by 
showing you the way. Here, my boy ! now, 
place your head in here, like this {hangman 
putting his liead in noose) ; this is the right and 
the proper way; now, you see the rope is 
placed under my chin ; I'll take my head out, 
and I Ynh place yours in (that's a rhyme) 
and when your head is in the rope, you must 
turn round to the ladies and gentlemen, and 
say — Good-by ; fare you weU. 

(Very slowly then — a stop between each of 
the words ; for that's not driving the people out 
of the world in quick haste without givinj^ 'em 
time for repentance. That's another moral, yer 

e. Oh, I like all the morals to it.) 

Punch {quickly pulling the rope). Good- 
by; fare you well. {Hangs the hangman.) 
(What a hypocrite he is again, yer see, for 



M 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON J^OOB. 



directly he's done it be says : * Now, Fm ft'ee 
again for frolic and fan ;* calls Joey, the down, 
his old Mend, because they're both ftOl of 
tricks and antics : ' Joey, here's a man hung 
hisself;'— that's his hypocrisy again, yer see, 
for he tries to get exempt after he's done it 
hisself.) 

Enter Clowv, in qvick hawU, hobhing «p o^otiul 
the gaUowM, 

Clown. Dear me, I've nm against a milk- 
post ! Why, dear Mr. Punch, you've hung a 
man ! do tdce him down ! How came you to 
doit? 

Punch, He got wet through, and I hung 
him up to diy. 

Clown. Dear me ! why you've hung him up 
till he's dried quite dead ! 

Punch, Poor fellow! then he won't catch 
cold with the wet Let's put him in this 
snuff-box. {Pointing to coffin. 

[Joey takes the figure down and gives it to 
Punch to hold, so as the body do not run 
away, and then proceeds to remove the 
gallows. In doing so he by accident hits 
Punch on the nose. 

Punch, Mind what you are about! (for 
Punch is game, yer know, right through to 
the back-bone.) 

Clown, Make haste. Punch, here's some- 
body a-coming! (They hustle his legs and 
feet in ; but they can't get his head in, the un- 
dertaker not having made the coffin large 
enough.) 

Punch, We'd better double him up, place 
the pall on, and take the man to the brave, — 
not the grave, but the brave : cos he's been a 
brave man in his time may be. — Sings the 
Bong of * Bobbing around,' while with the 
coffin he bobs Joey on the head, and exaunt. 

Be-enter Punch. 

Punch, That was a jolly lark, wasn't itf 
Sings,— 

" I'd be a butterfly, bom in u bower, 
HaUjig aj^le-dumplinge without any flour." 

All this wit must have been bom in me, 

or nearly so ; but I got a good lot of it from 

Poraini and Pike — and gleanings, you know. 

[PmucA disappears and re-enters with bell. 

Punch. This is my pianner-sixty : it plays 

fifty tunes all at one time. 

lOoes to the landlord of the public chouse 
painted on the side-scene, or cottage, re- 
presented as a tavern or hotel. The 
children of the pubUcmn are ail a-bed. 
Punch plays up a tune and soHeits for 
money, 
Lamdiord wakes up in a passion through the 
terrible noise ; pokes his head out cf win- 
dow and tells him to go away, 
(There's a little window, and a httle door to 
this side-scene.) If they was to play it all 
through, as you're a writing, it *iidopen Dmry- 
lane Theatre. 
Punch. Go away? Yes, play sway! Oh, 



you means, O'er the hills and far away. (He 
misunderstands him, wilfully, the hypocrite.) 
[Punch keeps on ringing his bell violently. 
Publican, in a violent passion, opens the door, 
and pushes him away, saying, ** Be off with you /"] 

Punch, I will not {Hits him over the head 
with the bell.) You're no judge of music. 
(Plays away,) 

Publican exaunts to fetch cudgel to pay 
him out. Punch no sooner sees cudgel than 
he exaunts, taking his musical instrument 
with him. It's far superior to anything of 
the kind vou did ever see, except * seldom.' 
You know it's silver, and that's what we says 
* solilom ; ' silver, you know, is * seldom,' be- 
cause it's seldom you sees it. 

Publican comes out of his house with his 
cudgel to catch old Punch on the grand hop. 
Must have a little comic. 

Punch returns again with his bell, while 
publican is hiding secretly for to catch him. 
Publican pretends, as he stands in a comer, 
to be fast asleep, but keeps hif> eyes wide 
awake all the while, and says, ' If ho comes 
up here, I'll be one upon his tibby.' 

Punch comes out from behind the opposite 
side, and rings his bell violently. Publican 
makes a blow at him with his cudgel, and 
misses, saying, ** How dare you intmde upon 
my premises with that nasty, noisy bell ?'' 

Punch, while publican is watching at this 
aida-scene, appears over at the other, with a 
hartful dodge, and again rings his bell loudly, 
and again the publican misses him ; and while 
publican is watching at this side-scene, Punch 
re-enters, and draws up to him very slowly, 
and restes his pianner-sixty on the board, while 
he slowly advances to him, and gives him a 
whack on the head with his fist. Punch then 
disappears, leaving his bell behind, and the 
landlord in pursession of his music.) 

Landlord {collaring the belt). Smuggings ! 
pursession is nine points of the Iaw ! So this 
bell is mine, {guarding over it with a stick), 
Smuggings ! this is mine, and when he comes 
up to take this bell away, I shall have him. 
Smuggings ! it's mine. 

Punch re-enters very slowly behind the 
publican as he is watching the beU, and 
snatching up the bell, cries out, ' That's mine,' 
and exaunts with it 

Publican. Dear me ! never mind ; I look 
after him ; I shall catch him some di^ cr 
other. {Hits his nose up againtt the post as he 
is going away.) (That's comic.) Oh, mj nosal 
never mind. 111 have him again soma time. 

{Excite 'PxmuiOAM, 
Clown re-enters with Punch. 

Clown, Oh, Punch, how are yon? 

Punch. I'm very glad to see you. Oh, Joey, 
my fnend, how do you do 7 

Clown, Here, Pimch, are you a mind for a 
lark? {Peeping in at the cottage window^ fv- 
presented as a publie-house,) Are you hungry. 
Punch ? would you lika something to eat f 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



09 



TmmcK. Yes. 

Clown, What wonld you like ? 

Pitnch. NotpecnKar. 

(Not particTilar, he means, joa know; 
that's a slip word.) 

Clown. Ill go up into the landlord, and see 
if he's got an^nEhing to eat. {Exaunt into cot- 
tofe^ and poking his head of the window.) 
Here, Prrncb ; here's the landlord fast asleep 
m the kitchen cellar ; here's a lot of sausages 
hanging up here. 

(Joey's a- thieving ; don't you see, he's a roh- 
hing the landlord now?) 

Would you like some for supper, eh, Punch ? 

Punch. Yes, to bo sure. 

Clown. Dont make a noise ; youTl wake the 
Imdlord. 

Punch {whispering ns loud as he can bawl 
thwugh the window). Hand 'em out here. 
{Punch pulls them out of the unndow.) 

Clown. "What are we to fry them in ? HI go 
and see if I can find a fningpan. 

[Exaunt from window, and re-appcars with 
frgingpan, which he Jiands out of unndow 
for Punch to cook sausages in, and then 
disappears fur a moment; after which he 
returns^ and says, with his liead out of 
window, * Would you like something /«>/, 
Punch r 

Punch. Yes, to be sure. 

(Punch is up to everything. lie's a help- 
ing him to rob the publican. One's as much 
in the mud as the other is in the mire.) 

Clown {Thrusting red-hot poker out of win- 
dow.) Here, lay hold — Here's a lark — Muke 
haste — Here's the landlord a coming. {Rubs 
Punch with it ever the nose.) 

Pfmek. Oh my nose! — that is a hot 'un. 
[Takes poker. 

Clown, {Re-enierg, and calls in at window.) 
Landlord, here's a fellow stole your sausages 
and fiyingpon. {Wakes vp Landlord and 
exaunis.) 

Landlord. {Appears at window.) Here's some- 
body been in my house and axually stole my 
saasagcs, fryingpon, and red-hot poker! 

(Clown exaunts when he has blamed it 
tU to Punch. Joey stole 'em, and Punch took 
'tm, and the receiver is always worse than the 
tliief^ for if they was never no receivers there 
wouldn't never be no thieves.) 

Landlord, Seizing the sausngos in Punch's 
hand, says, How did you get these here ? 

Punch. Joey stole 'em, and I took 'em. 

Landlord, Then youteboth jolly thieves, and 
I most have my property. A scuffle ensues. 
Punch hollars out, Joey! Joey I Hero's the 
hodlord a stealing the sausages! 

(So yon see Punch wants to make the 
landlord ft thief so as to exempt himself. He's 
a hypoc ri te there again, you see again — all 
through the piece he's the master-piece. Oh 
ft most dfiver man is Punch, and such an hypo- 
oite.) 

(Punch, seizing the fryingpan, which has 
ben on the pli^-hoard, knocks it on the 



publican's head ; when, there being a false 
bottom to it, the head goes through it, and the 
sausages gets about tlie Publican's neck, and 
Punch pulls at the pan and the sausages with 
veheminence, till the landlord is exhausted, and 
exaunts with his own property back again ; so 
there is no harm done, only merely for the 
lark to return to those people what belongs to 
'em — What you take away from a person 
always give to them again.) 

Re-enter Clown. 

Clown. Well, Mr. Punch, I shall wish you 
a pleasant good morning. 

Punch. [Hits him with /iu cudgel."] Good 
morning to you, Joey. 

Exaunt Joey. 

Punch sits down by the side of the poker, 
and Scaramouch appears without a head. 

Punch looks, and beholds, and he's fright- 
ened, and exaunts with the poker. 

Scaramouch docs a comic dance, with his 
long neck shooting up and down with the 
actions of his body, after which he exaunts. 

Punch re-enters again with the poker, and 
places it beside of him, and takes his cudgel 
ill his hand for protection, while he is singing 
the National Anthem of '* God save the Queen 
and all the Royal Family." 

Satan then appears as a dream (and it is 
all a dream after all), and dressed up as the 
Pvoossittn Bear (leave Politics alone as much as 
you can, for Punch belongs to nobody). 

Punch has a dreadful struggle with Satan, 
who seizes tlie red-hot poker and wants to take 
Punch away, for all his past misdeeds, and 
frolic and fun, to the bottomless pit. 

By struggling with Satan, Punch over- 
powers him, and he drops tlie poker, and Punch 
kills him with his cudgel, and shouts " Bravo I 
Hooray! Satan is dead," he cries (we must 
have a good conclusion) : '* we can now all do 
as we like!" — (That's the moral, you see.) 
*' Good-by, Ladies and Gentlemen : this is the 
Avhole of the original performance of Mr. 
Punch : and I remain still your most obedient 
and most humble servant to command. Good- 
by, good-by, good-by. God bless you alL 
I return you my most sincere thanks for your 
patronage and support, and I hope you'll coma 
out handsome witli your gold and alver.*' 

There is one Punch in France, but far 
different to the English Punch ; they ex- 
hibiting their figures in a different way by 
performing them with sticks, the same as 
Scaramouch is done. They has a performing 
Punch sitivated at the Boulevards, in Paris, 
where he has a certain piece of ground allotted 
for him, with seats attached, being his own f^^e- 
hold property; the passers-by, if they wish to 
see the performance, they take their seat with 
the juveniles, sits down, and he performs to 
them for what they think proper to give him. 
I never was over in France, but I've heard 
talk of him a deal from foreigners who has 



60 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



given us inflammation about it, vich they was 
so kind to do. They shows the difTerence 
between English and French you know. 

The Faktoccisi Man. 

Every one who has resided for any time in 
London must have noticed in the streets a 
large roomy show upon wheels, about four 
times as capacious as those used for tlie per- 
formance of Punch and Judy. 

The proprietor of one of these perambulating 
exhibitious was a person of some 50 years of 
age, with a sprightly half-military manner; 
but he is seldom seen by the public, on ac- 
count of his haMt of passing the greater part 
of the day concealed within his theatre, for 
the purpose of managing the figures. When 
he paid mo a visit, his peculiar erect bear- 
ing struck me as ho entered. He walked with- 
out bending his knees, stamped with his heels, 
and often rubbed his hands together as if 
washing them with an invisiblo soap. Ho wore 
his hair with Uio curls arranged in a Brutus, 
k la George the Fourth, and his chin was forced 
up into the air by a high black stock, as though 
ho wished to increase his stature. He wore a 
frock coat buttoned at waist, and open on his 
expanded chest, so as to show off the entire 
length of his shirt-front 

I could not help asking him, if he had ever 
served in tlie army. He, however, objected to 
gratify my curiosity on that point, ^ough it 
was impossible from his reply not to infer that 
he had been in her m^jest/s service. 

There was a mystery about his origin and 
parentage, which he desired should remain 
undisturbed. His relations were all of them 
so respectable, he said, that he did not wish to 
disgrace them by any revelations he might 
moke ; thus implying that he considered his 
present occupation a downfall in life. 

" I follow«)d it as my propensity,** he pro- 
ceeded, " and though I have run through three 
fortunes, I follow it still. I never knew the 
value of money, and when I have it in my 
pocket I cannot keep it there. I have spent 
forty-five pounds in three dajrs." 

He seemed to be not a little fond of exhibit- 
ing his dolls, and considered himself to be the 
only person living who knew anything of the 
art. He said orders were sent to him from all 
parts of the country to make the figures, and 
indeed some of them were so intricate, that he 
alone had the secret of their construction. 

He hardly seemed to like the Marionettes, 
and evidently looked upon them as an inter- 
ference with " the real original character" of the 
exhibition. The only explanation he could give 
of the difference between the Marionettes and 
the Fantoccini was, that the one had a French 
title, and referred to doUs in modem costume, 
whilst the other was an ItaUan word, and ap- 
plied to dolls in fancy dresses. 

He gave me the following interesting state- 
ment : — 



"The Fantoccini," he said, "is the proper 
title of the exhibition of dancing dolls, Uiough 
it has lately been changed to that of the * Ma- 
rionettes,' owing to the exhibition under that 
name at the Adelaide Gallery. 

" That exhibition at the Adelaide Gallery was 
very good in its way, but it was nothing to be 
compared to tlie exhibition that was once given 
at the Argyll Rooms in Regent-street, (that's 
the old place that was bunied down ) . It was 
called * Le petit Thedtre Matthieu^' and in my 
opinion it was the best one that ever come 
into London, because they was well manaj;ed. 
They did little pieces — heavy and light. They 
did Shakespeare's tragedies and farces, and 
singing as well ; indeed, it was the real stage, 
only with dolls for actors and parties to speak 
for 'em and work their arms and legs behind 
the scenes. I've known one of these parties 
take three parts — look at that for clover work 
— first he did an old man, then an old woman, 
and afterwards the young man. I assisted at 
tliat performance, and I should say it was full 
twenty years ago, to the best of my recollec- 
tion. After the Marionettes removed to the 
Western Institution, Leicester-square, I as- 
sisted at ihem also. It was a passable ex- 
hibition, but nothing out of the way. The 
figiures were only modelled, not carved, as they 
ought to be. I was only engaged to exhibit 
one figure, a sailor of my own making. It 
was a capital one, and stood as high as a table. 
They wanted it for the piece called the ' Ma- 
nager in Distress,' where one of the performers 
is a sailor. Mine would dance a hornpipe, 
and whip its hat off in a minute ; when I had 
finished performing it, I took gooil care to 
whip it into a bag, so that tliey should not see 
how I arranged the strings, for they was very 
backwards in their knowledge. When we 
worked the figiures it was very diihcult, be- 
cause you had to be up so high — like on the 
top of the ceiling, and to keep looking down aU 
the time to manage the strings. There was a 
platform arranged, with a place to rest against. 

" The first to introduce the Fantoccini into 
London — that is, into London streets, mind 
you, going about — was Gray, a Scotchman. 
He was a very clever fellow, — very good, 
and there was nothing but what was good 
that belonged to it — scenery, dresses, theatre 
and all. He had a frame then, no longer than 
tlie Punch frame now, only he had a labouring 
man to cany it for him, and he took with him 
a box no larger than a haberdasher's box, which 
contained the figures, for they were not more 
than nine inches high. Now my figures are 
two feet high, though they don't look it; but 
my theatre is ten feet high by six foot wide, 
and the opening is four feet high. This Gray 
was engaged at all the tlieatros, to exhibit hijj 
figures at the masquerades. Nothing went 
down but Mr. Gray, and he put poor Pimch. 
up altogether. When he performed at the 
theatres, he used to do it as a wind-up to the 
entertainment, after the dancing was over, and 




GUY FAWKES. 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



61 



thrjwoiild elMT the stage on purpose for him, 
ftod then let down a scene wiUi an opening in 
it, the size of his theatre. On these occasions 
his fi^rnres were longer, about two feet, and 
very perfect. There was juggling, and slack 
and tight rope-dandng, and Punches, and 
everything, and the performance was ne^er 
]«9s than one hour, and then it was done a8 
quick as lightning, every morning, and no feat 
lunger than two or three minutes. It didn't 
do to have silly persons there. 

^This Gray performed at Yauxhall when 
Bifth, the lottery-man in Comhill, had it, and 
he vent down wonderful. He also performed 
before George the Fourth. I've heard sny that 
he j^t ten pounds a- week when he performed 
at Vauxhall, for they snatched him out of the 
streets, and wouldn't let him play there. It's 
impossible to say what ho made in the streets, 
for he was a Scotchman and uncommon close. 
If be took a hatfull, he'd say, * I've only got a 
few;' but he did so well he could sport his 
diamond rings on his fingers, — first rate — 
splendid. 

•* Gray was the first to exhibit gratis in the 
Ktreeta of London, but he was not the first to 
work fantoccini figures. They had always 
been exhibited at theatres before that, Old 
Ponini knowed nothing about them <~ it was 
out of his business all to^^ether, for he was 
Punch and nothing more. Gray killed Porsini 
and his Punch ; regular shut him up. A man 
of the name of Flocton from Birmingham was, 
to the best of my knowledge, the first that ever 
had a fantocdni exhibition in England; but 
he was ooJEy for theatres. 

" At this tone I had been playing in the 
orcfaestrmwiCli some travelling comedians, and 
Mr. SaAWOod, the master, used among other 
things to exhibit the dancing figures. He 
had a pnMeenium fitted up so that he could 
open a twenty-foot theatre, almost large 
enough for living persons. He had the splen- 
didest figures ever introduced into this cotmtry. 
He was sa artist as well, splendid scene and 
transparent painter ; indeed, he's worked for 
some of the first noblemen in Cheltenham, 
doing up their drawing-rooms. His figures 
worked their eyes and mouths by mechanism ; 
according to what they had to say, they looked 
and moved their eyes and mouths according ; 
and females, if they was singing, heaved their 
I'Osoms like Christians, the same as life. He 
had a Turk who did the tightrope without 
anybody being seen. He always performed 
diSnvnt pieces, and had a regular wardrobe 
vith him— beautiful dresses — and he'd diess 
'em up to their parts, and then paint their 
liees up with distemper, which daiw in .an 
hour. Somebody came and told me that Gray 
wu in London, performing in the streets, and 
that's what bzought me out. I had helped 
Mr. Seawood to manage the figures, and I 
knew something about them. They told me 
Gray had a frame, and I said, *Well, it's a 
Int of ganius, and is a fortune.* The only 



figures they told me he had — and it was true 
— was a sailor, and a Turk, and a clown, and 
what we calls a Polander, that's a man that 
tosses the pole. I left Seawood directly, and 
I went to my father and got some money, and 
began instantly making my f^ame and figures. 
Mine was about sixteen inches high, and I had 
five of 'em. I began very strong. My fifth 
figure was a juggler. I was the second that 
ever came out in the streets of London. It 
was at the time that George the Fourth went 
to Scotland, and Gray went after him to try 
his luck, following the royal family. As the 
king went out of London I came in. I first 
of cdl put up at Peckham, just to lay to a bit and 
look about me. I'll tell you the reason. I 
h£td no one to play, and I couldn't manage the 
figures and do the music as weU, consequently 
I had to seek after some one to do the pan- 
dean pipes. I didn't like to make my first 
appearance in London without music. At 
last I met a party that used to play the pipes 
at Vauxhall. I met him one day, and ho 
says, * What are you up to now ? ' so I told him 
I had the fantoccini figures. He was a beau- 
tiful pipe player, and I've never heard any one 
like him before or since. He wouldn't believe 
I had the figures, they was such a novelty. I 
told him where I was staying, and he and his 
partner came over to sec me, and I performed 
the figures, and then we went on .shares. Ho 
had worked for Gray, and he knew all his 
houses where he used to perform, and I knew 
nothing about these things. "When Gray came 
back he found me performing before one of 
his houses in Harley-strect, where he always 
had five shiliings. 

"They was a tremendous success — won- 
derful. If we had a call at a house our 
general price was two-and-sixpcnce, and the 
performance was, for a good one, twenty 
minutes. Then there was the crowd for the 
collection, but they was principally halfpence, 
and we didn't cai» about them much, though 
we have taken four shillings. We never 
pitched only to hottses, only stopping when 
we had an order, and we hadn't occasion to 
walk far, for as soon as the tune was heard, 
up would come the servants to tell us to 
come. Tve had three at me at once. I've 
known myself to be in Devonshire-place, when 
I was poforming there, to be there for three 
hours and upwards, going from house to house. 
I eotdd tell you how much we took a-day. It 
was, after taking expenses, from four to five 
pounds a-day. Besides, there was a labourer 
to whom we paid a guinea a- week to carry a 
fhutne, and he had his keep into the bargain. 
Where Punch took a shilling we've taken a 
poimd. 

"I recollect going down with the show to 
Brighton, and they actually announced our 
arrival in the papers, saying, that among other 
public amusements tliey had the Fantoccini 
figures ftom London. That's a fact That 
was in the paper. We did well in Brighton. 



68 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



We'hftve, I can assure jon, taken eighteen 
shillings and sixpence in half an hour, comer- 
pitching, as we call it ; that is, at the comer of 
a street where there is a lotof people passing. 
We had such success, that the magistrates 
sent the head-constable round with us, to clear 
away the mob. If we performed before any 
gentleman's place, there was this constable to 
keep the place clear. A nasty busy fellow he 
was, too. All the time wo was at Brighton we 
made twenty pounds a-week clear, for we then 
took only shillings and sixpences, and there 
was no fourpenny pieces or threepenny bits in 
them times. We had gentlemen come up 
many a time and offer to buy the whole con- 
cern, clear. What an idea, wasn't it ? But we 
didn't want to sell it, they couldn't have given 
us our price. 

" The crowd was always a great annoyance 
to us. They'd follow us for miles, and the 
moment we pitched up they'd come and gather 
about, and almost choke us. What was their 
ha'pence to us when we was taking our half, 
crowns ? Actually, in London, we walked three 
and four miles to get rid of the mob ; but, bless 
you ! we couldn't get rid of them, for they was 
like flies after honey. 

" We used to do a great business ¥rith even- 
ing parties. At Christmas we have had to go 
three and four times in the same evening to 
different parties. We never had less than a 
guinea, and I have had as much as five pounds, 
but the usual price was two pounds ten ahil- 
lings, and all refreshments found you. I had 
the honour of performing before the Queen 
when she was Princess Victoria. It was at 
Gloucester-house, Park-lane, and we was en- 
gaged by the royal household. A nice berth 
I had of it, for it was in May, and they put us 
on the landing of the drawing-room, where 
the folding-doors opened, and there was some 
place close by where hot air was admitted 
to warm the apartments ; and what with the 
heat of the weather and this 'ere ventilation, 
with the heat coming up the grating-places, 
and my anxiety performing before a princess, 
I was near baked, and the perspiration quite 
run off me ; for I was packed up above, stand- 
ing up and hidden, to manage the figures. 
There was the maids of honour coming down 
the stairs like so many nuns, dressed all in 
white, and the princess was standing on a 
sofa, with the Duke of Kent behind her. She 
was apparently very much amused, like others 
who had seen (hem. I can't recollect what we 
was paid, but it was very handsome and so 
forth. 

'^I've also performed before the Baroness 
Rothschilds, next the Duke of Wellington's, 
and likewise the Baron himself, in Grosvenor- 
place, and Sir Watkyn W. Wynne, and half 
the nobility in England. We've been in the 
very first of drawing-rooms. 

"• I shall never forget being 'at Sir Watkyn 
Wynne's, for we was very handsomely treated, 
and had the best of eveiything. It was in 



St James's-square, and the best of maasioiis. 
It was a juvenile-party ni^t, and there was a 
juggler, and a Punch and Judy, and our Fan- 
toccinL One of the footmen comes up, and 
says he, * Would any of you men like a jelly?' 
I told him I didn't care for none, but the Punch- 
and-Judy man says — < My missus is very par. 
tial to them.' So the footman asks — 'How 
will you carry it home?' I suggested he 
should put it in his hat, and the foolish fellow^ 
half silly with horns of ale, actually did, and 
wrapped it up in his pocket-handkerchiet 
There was a large tumbler full. By and by 
he cries — *Lord, how I sweat!' and there 
was the stuff nmning down his hair like so 
much size. We did laugh, I can assure you. 

'* Fantoccini has fallen off now. It's quite 
different to what it was. I don't think the 
people's tired of it, but it ain't such a noveltj. 
I could stop up a whole street if I liked, so 
that nothing could get along, and that showt 
the people ain't tir^ of it. I think it's the 
people that gave the half-crowns are tired of 
It, but those with the ha'pence are as fond of 
it as ever. As times go, the performance is 
worth two pounds a-week to me; and if it 
wasn't, I couldn't afford to stop with it, forPm 
very clever on the violin, and I could earn 
more than thirty shillings a-week playing in 
bands. We still attend evening parties, only 
it isn't to princesses, but gentry. We depend 
more upon evening parties. It isn't street 
work, only if we didn't go round they'd think 
I was dead. We go to more than thirty par- 
ties a-year. We always play according to 
price, whether it's fifteen shillings, or teu 
shillings, or a guinea. We dont get many 
five-guinea orders now. The last one was six 
months ago, to go twenty-eight miles into Kent, 
to a gentleman's house. When we go to parties, 
we take with us a handsome, portable, fold-up 
frame. The front is beautifiil, and by a first- 
rate artist. The gentleman who done it is at 
the head of the carriage department at a rail- 
way, and there's the royal arms all in gold, 
and it stands above ten feet high, and has 
wings and all, so that the music and every- 
thing is invisible. It shuts up like a port- 
folio. The figures are first-rate ones, and 
eveiy one dressed according to the country, 
whatever it may be, she is supposed to repre- 
sent They are in the best of material, with 
satin and lace, and all that's good. 

" When we perform in the streets, we gene- 
rally go through this programme. We begins 
with a female hornpipe dancer ; then there is 
a set of quadrilles by some marionette figun^s, 
four females and no gentleman. If we did 
the men we should want assistance, for four 
is as much as I can hold at once. It would 
require two men, and the street won't pay for 
it After this we introduces a representation 
of Mr. Grimaldi the clo^n, who does tumbling 
and posturing, and a comic dance, ond so 
forth, such as trying to catch a buLtorfly. 
Then comes the enchanted Turk. He cornea 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR, 



03 



00 in the costume of a Turk, and he throws 
off his light and left arm, and then his legs, 
and they each change into different figures, 
the arms and legs into two boys and girls, a 
dergyman the head, and an old lady the body. 
That figure was my own invention, and I could 
if Ihke uun him into a dozen ; indeed, Pve got 
one at home, which turns into a par»on in the 
pulpit, and a derk tmder him, and a lot of 
wit charity children, with a form to sit down 
mon. They are all carved figures, every one 
or them, and my own make. The next per- 
fi)nBance is the old lady, and her arms drop 
off and torn into two figures, and the body 
becomos a complete bidloon and car in a 
minute, and not a flat thing, but round — and 
the figures get into the car and up they go. 
Then there's the tight-rope dancer, and next 
the Indian juggler — Ramo Samee, a rcpresen- 
tation — who chucks the balls about under his 
iMt and under his arms, and catches them on 
the back of his head, the same as Ramo Samee 
did. Then there's the sailor's hornpipe — 
kalian Scaramouch (he's the old style). This 
one has a long neck, and it shoots up to the 
tup of the theatre. This is the original trick, 
and a very good one. Then comes the Po- 
lander, who balances a pole and two chairs, 
and stands on his head and jumps over his 
pole ; he dresses like a Spaniard, and in the 
dd style. It takes a quarter of an hour to do 
that figure well, and make him do all his 
tricks. Then comes the Skeletons. They're 
regular first class, of course. This one also 
was my invention, and I was the first to make 
them, and I'm the only one that can make 
them. They are made of a particular kind of 
wood. I'm a first-rate carver, and can make 
my three guineas any day for a skull ; indeed, 
I've Bold many to dentists to put in their win- 
dow. It's very difficult to carve this figure, 
and takes a deal of time. It takes full two 
months to make these skeletons. I've been 
offered ten pounds ten shillings for a pair, if 
Id make 'em correct according to the human 
frame. Those I make for e^ibiting in the 
streets, I charge two pounds each for. They're 
good, and all the joints is correct, and you may 
put 'em into what attitudes you like, and they 
walk like a human being. These figures in 
my show come up through a trap-door, and 
perform attitudes, and shiver and lie down, 
and do imitations of the pictures. It's a 
tragic sort of concern, and many ladies won't 
have 'em at evening parties, because it frightens 
the children. Then there's Judy Callaghan, 
and that 'livens up after the skeletons. Then 
SIX figures jump out of her pockets, and she 
knocks them about. It's a sort of comic busi- 
Dcas. Then the next is a countryman who 
ean*t get hia donkey to go, and it kicks at 
him and throws him off, and all manner of 
comic andca, after Billy Button's style. Then 

1 do the skeleton that falls to pieces, and then 
becomes whole again. Then there's another 
out oithe-way oomic figure that falls to pieces 



similar to the skeleton. He catches holcT of 
his head and chucks it from one hand to the 
other. We call him the Nondescript. We 
wind up with a scene in Tom and Jerry. 
The curtain winds up, and there's a watchman 
prowling the streets, and some of those lark- 
ing gentlemen comes on and pitch into him. 
He looks round and he can't see anybody. 
Presently another comes in and gives him 
another knock, and then there's a scuffle, and 
off they go over the watch-box, and down 
comes the scene. That makes the juveniles 
laugh, and finishes up the whole performance 
merry like. 

" I've forgot one figure now. Iknow'd there 
was another, and that's the Scotchman who 
dances the Highland fling. He's before the 
watchman. He's in the regular national cos- 
tume, everything correct, and everything, and 
the music plays according to the performance. 
It's a beautiful figure when well handled, and 
the dresses cost something, I can tell you ; all • 
the joints are counter -simk — them figures 
that shows above the knee. There's no joints 
to be seen, all works hidden like, something 
like Madame Yestris in Don Juan. All my 
figures have got shoes and stockings on. They 
have, indeed. If it wasn't my work, they'd cost 
a deal of money. One of them is more ex- 
pensive than all those in Punch and Judy put 
together. Talk of Punch knocking the Fan- 
toccini down I Mine's all show ; Punch is 
nothing, and cheap as dirt. 

" I've also forgot the flower-girl that comes 
in and dances 'with a garland. That's a very 
pretty figure in a fairy's dress, in a nice white 
skirt with naked carved arms, nice modelled, 
and the legs just the same ; and the trunks 
come above the knee, the same as them ballet 
girls. She shows all the opera attitudes. 

" The performance, to go through the whole 
of it, takes an hour and a half; and then you 
mustn't stand looking at it, but as soon as cue 
thing goes off the music changes and another 
comes on. That ain't one third, nor a quarter 
of what I can do. 

" When Pm performing I'm standing behind, 
looking down upon the stage. All the figures 
is hanging round on hooks, with all their 
strings ready for use. It makes your arms 
ache to work them, and especially across the 
loins. All the strength you have you must do, 
and chuck it out too ; for those four figures 
which I uses at evening parties, which dance 
the polka, weighs six poimds, and that's to be 
kept dangling for twenty minutes together. 
They are two feet high, and their skirts take 
three quarters of a yard, and are covered with 
spangles, which gives 'em great weight. 

" There are only two of us going about now 
with Fantoccini shows. Several have tried it, 
but they had to knock under very soon. They 
soon lost their money and time. In the first 
place, they must be musicians to make the 
figures keep time in the dances ; and, again, 
they most be carvers, for it won't pay to put 



04 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



the fignres out to be done. I had ten pounds 
the other day onlj to caxre six figures, and the 
wood only come to three shinings; that'll give 
you some idea of what the carving costs. 

''Formerly I used to make ue round of 
the watering-places, hut Tve got quite enough 
to do in London now, and traTelling's very 
expensive, for the eating and drinking is so 
veiy expensive. Now, at Ramsgate I've had 
to pa^ half~a-guinea for a bed, and that to a 
man m my position is more than I like. I 
always pays the man who goes along with me 
to play the music, because I don't go out every 
day, only when it suits me. He gets as good 
as lus twenty-three shillings a-week, according 
to how business is, and Uiat's on an average 
as good as four shillings a-day. If I'm very 
lucky I makes it better for him, for a man 
can't be expected to go and blow his life away 
into pandean pipes unless he's well paid for 
it." 

Gut Fawkeses. 

Until within the last ten or twelve years, the 
exhibition of guyR in the public thorough- 
fares every 5th of November, was a privilege 
enjoyed exclusively by boys of from 10 to 15 
years of age, and the money arising there* 
from was supposed to be invested at night in 
a small pyrotechnic display of squibs, crackers, 
and Catherine- wheels. 

At schoobi, and at many young gentlemen's 
houses, for at least a week before the 5th 
arrived, the bonfires were prepared and guys 
built up. 

At night one might see rockets ascending 
in the air from many of the suburbs of London, 
and the little back-gardens in such places as 
the Hampstead-road and Kennington, and, 
ailer dusk, suddenly illuminated with the 
blaze of the tar-barrel, and one might hear in 
the streets even banging of crackers mingled 
with the laughter and shouts of boys ex^oying 
the sport 

In those days the street guys were of a 
ver>' humble character, the grandest of them 
generally consisting of old clothes stuff'ed up 
with straw, and carried in state upon a 
kitchen-chair. The arrival of the guy before 
a window was announced by a juvenile chorus 
of ** Please to remember the 5th of November." 
So diminutive, too, were some of these guys, 
that I have even seen doUs carried about as 
the representatives of the late Mr. Fawkes. 
In fact, none of these effigies were hardly ever 
made of larger proportions than Tom Thumb, 
or than would admit of being carried through 
the garden-gates of any suburban villa. 

Of late years, however, the character of Guy 
Fawkes-day has entirely changed. It seems 
now to partake rather of the nature of a 
London May-day. The figures have grown 
to be of gigantic stature, and whilst downs, 
musicians, and dancers have got to accompany 
them in their travels through the streets, the 
traitor Fawkes seems to have been almoat' 



laid aside, and the festive occasion taken 
advantage offer the expresaion of any i>olitical 
feeling, the guy being made to represent any 
celebrity of the day who has for the moment 
offended against Uie opinions of the people. 
The kitchen-chair has been changed to the 
costermongers' donkey-truck, or even Tans 
drawn by pairs of horses. Tlie bonlires and 
fireworks are seldom indulged in ; the money 
given to the exhibitors b^ng shared among- 
the projectors at night, the same as if th« 
day's work had been occupied with acrobttting 
or nigger singing. 

The first guy of any celebrity that made its 
appearance in the London streets was about 
the year 1844, when an enormous figure was 
paraded about on horseback. This had a 
tall extinguisher-hat, with a broad red brim, 
and a pointed vandyked colloi*, that hung 
down over a smock frock, which was stuffed 
out with straw to the dimensions of a water- 
butt. The figure was attended by a body of 
some half-dozen costermongers, mounting 
many coloured cockades, and armed with for- 
midable bludgeons. The novelty of the ex- 
hibition ensured its success, and the " coppers* 
poured in in such quantities that ou the 
following year gigantic guys were to be found 
in every quarter of the metropolis. 

But the gigantic movement did not attain 
its zenith till the **No Popery" cry was raised, 
upon the diri^ion of England into pajial 
bishoprics. Then it was no longer Fawkes 
but Cardinal Wiseman and the Pope of Rome 
who were paraded as guys through the London 
thoroughfares. 

The figures were built up of enormous pro- 
portions, the red hat of the cardinal having a 
brim as large as a loo-table, and his scarlet 
cape being as long as a tent. Guy Fawkes 
seated upon a barrel marked ** Gunpowder * | 
usually accompaniod His Holiness and the I 
Cardinal, but his diminutive size showed that i 
Guy now played but a secondary part in the ! 
exhibition, tdthough the lantern and the 
matches were tied as usual to his radishy and 
gouty fingers. According to the newspapers, 
one of these shows was paraded on the Royal 
Exchange, the merchants approving of the 
exhibition to such an extent that sixpences, 
shillings, and half-crowns were showered in 
to the hats of the lucky costers who had made 
the speculation. So excited was the publie 
mind, that at night, after business was over, 
processions were formed by tradespeo2)le and 
respectable mechanics, who, with bands of 
music playing, and banners flying, on which 
were inscribed anti -papal mottoes and devices, 
marched through the streets wtth flaming 
torches, and after parading their monster 
Popes and Cardinals until about nine o'clock at 
night, eventually ac^oumed to some open 
space — like Peckhara-rye or Blackheath — 
where the guy was burned amid the most 
boisterous applauses. 

Cardinal Wiseman and the Pope reappeared 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



Gd 



Ibrserend years in snccessioD, till at length 
the Banian war breaking oat, the Guy-Fawkes 
WBStroctcws had a fresh model to work upon. 
Ike Emperor of Rnssia accordingly **came 
ovt** in the streets, in all forms and shapes ; 
sonetimes as the Teritable Nicholas, in jack- 
boots and leather breeches, with his luimis. 
likable moustache; and often as Old Nick, 
vith a pab* of horns and a lengthy appendage 
ia the fozm of a toil, with an arrow-headed 
IvmiDation ; and not unfrequently he was re- 
fiwiiintod as a huge bear cronching beneath 
•ome rode symbol of the English and French 
dfiaoee. 

On the 9th of November (1856) the gnys 
vcre more c^ a political than a religious cha- 
neter. The unfortunate Pope of Rome had 
a some instances been changed for Bombc^ 
IhoDgh the Czar, His Holiness, and his 
British l e p res c ntative the Cardinal, were not 
alloaelher neglected. The wont of any poli- 
ticaf agitation was the caase why the guys 
vcn ofso uninteresting a character. 

I most not, however, forget to mention a 
"■»g"^— ■ innovation that was thon made in the 
racognised fashion of guy building — one of 
the groups of figures exhibited being (strange 
to say) of a compUmentary nature. It con- 
sisted of Miss Nightingale, standing between 
ML Hnglicih Grenadier and a French foot- 
w^er, while at her feet lay the guy between 
two barrels marked " Gunpowder,'* and so equi- 
vocally attiK-d that he might be taken for 
«ther the Emperor of Russia or the Pope of 
Bonke. 

At BiUing^ate, a guy was promenaded 
round the mariiet as cnrly as five o'clock in tho 
morning, by a party of charity-boys, who ap- 
peered by their looks to have been sitting up 
all night. It is well known to the boys in the 
aeighbourhood of the great fish-market, that 
die guy which is first in the field reaps the 
nchest harvest of halfpence from the salesmen ; 
and iodeed, till within the last three or four 
years, one fish-fjictor was in the habit of giving 
the bearers of the first effigy he saw a half-crown 
piece. Hence there were usually two or 
three diffarent guy luirties in attendance soon 
lAer four o'clock, awaiting his coming into the 
market. 

For manufkctnring a cheap guy, sucli as 
that seen at Billingsgate, a pair of old trousers 
ad Wellington boots f(>rm the most expensive 
ttm. The shoulders of the guys are gene- 
laDv decorated with a paper cape, adorned 
«il£ diflerent coloured rosettes and gilt stars. 
A fbozpenny mask makes the face, and a 
proper cocked hat, embellished in the same 
tf^ie as the oape, surrounds the rag. head. 

The general characteristics of all gu>'8 con. 
■Bts in a limpness and roundness of limb, 
^ieh give the form a puddingy appearance. 
An the extremities have a kind of paralytic 
feebleness, so that the head leans on one 
tide li]^ that of a dead bird, and the feet have 
a umiataral propensity for placing themselves 



in every position but the right one ; sometimes 
turning Oieir toes in, as if their legs hod been 
put on the wrong way, or keeping their toes 
turned out, as if they had been " struck so * 
while taking their first dancing-lesson. Their 
fingers radiate like a bunch of carrots, and the 
arms are as shapeless and bowed as the 
monster sausage in a cook-shop window. 
The face is always composed of a mask painted 
in the state of the most florid hcsdth, and 
singularly disagreeing with the frightf^ de- 
bility of the body. Through the holes for the 
eyes bits of rag and straw generally protrude, 
as though birds had built in the sockets. A 
pipe is mostly forced into the mouth, where it 
remains with the bowl downwards ; and in the 
hands it is customary to tie a lantern and 
matches. Whilst the guy is carried along, you 
can hear the straw in his interior rustUng and 
crackling, like moving a workhouse mattrass. 
As a general rule, it may be added, that guys 
have a lielpless, dnmken look. 

Wlien, however, the monster Guy Fawkeses 
came into fashion, considerably greater expense 
was gone to in ** getting up" the figures. Then 
the feet were alwaj-s fastened in their proper 
position, and although the airangement of the 
hands was never perfectly mastered, yet the 
fingers were brought a little more closely 
togetlier, and approached the digital dexterity 
of the dummies at the cheap clothes marts. 

For corrjing the guys about, chairs, wheel- 
barrows, trucks, carts, and vans are employed. 
Chairs and wheelbarrows are patronised by the 
juvenile population, but the other vehicles be- 
long to the gigantic speculations. 

(.)n the Surrey side a guy was exhibited in 
1850 whose stmw body was encased in a coacli- 
man's old great coat, covered with different 
coloiu*s, as various as tlic waistcoat patterns on 
a tailor's show-book. He was wheeled about 
on a truck by three or four yoimg men, ^hose 
hoarse voices, when shouting ** Please to re- 
member the Guy," showed tlieir regular occu- 
pation to be street-selling, for they had the 
same husky sound as the " Eight a-groat fVesh 
lierrens," in the Saturday night stroet- 
marketa. 

In the ncighb()urhoo<l of Walworth, men 
dressed up as guys were dragged about on 
trucks. One of them was seated upon a 
barrel marked " Gunpowder," his face being 
painted green, and ornamented with on im- 
mense false nose of a bright scarlet colour. I 
could not understand what this guy was meant 
to represent, fr »r he wore a sugarloaf hat with 
an ostrich feather in it, and had on a soldier's 
red coat, decorated with paper rosettes as big 
OS cabbages. His legs, too, were covered with 
his own corduroy trowsers, but adorned with 
paper streamers and bows. In front of him 
marched a couple of men carrying broomsticks, 
and musicians playing upr >n a tambourine and 
a penny tin whistle. 

The most remarkable of the stuffed figures 
of 1856 was oue dressed ui a sheet, intended 



96 



LOKDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



to represent the Bev. ^Ir. Spurgeon in a sur- 
plice ! It was carried alxmt on a wooden stage 
by boys, and took very well with the mob, lor 
no sooner did the lads cr}- out,— 

"Remember, remember. 

The fifth of November, 

Old Spurgeou'a treason aod plot I " 

than a shout of laughter burst from the crowd, 
and Uie halfpence began to pour in. '^JTithout 
this alteration in the November rhyme, nobody 
would have been able to have traced the 
slightest resemblance between the guy and the 
reverend gentleman whose effigy it was stated 
to be. 

Further, it should be added, that the guy 
exhibitors have of late introduced a new sys- 
tem, of composing special rhymes for the occa- 
sion, which are delivered after the well-known 
** Remember, remember.'' Those with the 
figures of tlie Pope, for instance, sing, — 

" A penn'orth of chcoeo to food the pope, 
A twopenny loiif to choke him, 
A pint of boer to wash it down. 
And a good loi^ge fagot to smoke bim ! ** 

I heard a parly of costonnongera, who had 
the image of His Imperial Majesty the Em- 
peror of all the Uussias wabbling on their 
truck, sing in chorus this homo-manufactured 
verse, — 

*' Poke an ingun in his eye — 

A squib shove up his nose, sirs ; 
Then roast him till he's done quite brown, 
And Nick to old Nick goes, sirs." 

With the larger guys little is usually sold or 
done beyond exhibiting them. In the crowded 
thoroughfares, the proprietoi-^ mostly occupy 
themselves only with collecting the money, and 
never let the procession stop for a moment. 
On coming to the squares, however, a different 
course is pursued, for then they stop before 
every window where a head is visible and sing 
the usual " Remember, remember," winding 
up with a vociferous hurrah I as they holdout 
their hats for the halfpence. 

At the West-end, one of the largest guys of 
1856 was drawn by a horse in a cart. This 
could not have been less than fourteen feet 
high. Its face, whicli was as big as a shield, 
was so flat and good-humoured in expres- 
sion that I at once recognised it as a panto- 
mime mask, or one ivsed to hang outside some 
masquerade costiunier's shop door. The coat 
was of the Charles the Second's cut, and com- 
posed of a lightish coloured paper, ornamented 
with a profusion of Dutch metaL There was 
a sash across the right shoulder, and the legs 
were almost as long as the funnel to a penny 
steamer, and ended in brown paper cavalier 
boots. As the costermongers led it along, it 
shook like a load of straw. If it had not been 
for the bull's-eye lantern and lath matches, 
nobody would have recognised in the dandy 
figure the effigy of the wi-etched Fawkes. 



By far the handsomest turn-out of the daj, 
at this time, was a group of three figuxeii^ 
which promenaded Whitechapel and Beum«U 
green. They stood erect in a van drawn Ijj, 
a bhnd horse, and accompanied by a '^baad^- 
of one performer on the drum and pandaaa 
pipes. Four clowns in f^ costume mad* 
faces while they jumped about among tba 
spectators, and collected donations. AU ths 
guys were about ten feet high. The oentro. 
one, intended for Fawkes himself, was attired 
in a flowing cloak of crimson glazed calico^ and 
his black hat was a broad-brimmed sugar- 
loaf, the pointed crown of which was like a 
model of Langhom -place church steeple, and il 
had a profusion of black hair streaming aboo^ 
the face. The figures on either side of this 
were intended for Lords Suffolk and Monteaj^ 
in the act of arresting the traitor, and aooord* 
ingly appeared to be gently tapping Mr. 
Fawkes on either shoulder. The bodies of 
their lordships were encased in gold sods* 
ai-mour, and their legs in silver ditto, whilst 
their heads were covered with three-cornered 
cocked hats, surmounted by white feathers. 
In the front of the van were two white bonnersy 
with tlie following inscriptions in letters of 
gold :— 

" Apprehension op Guy Fawkes ok thr flm 

OF NOTEMBEB, IN THE YEAB IdOd.** 

And,— 

" The Discovery of the Gunpowdeb Piot 
ON the 5th of November, lOOd.** 

At the back of the van flaunted two flags of sE 
nations. In addition to the four clowns, thers 
were several other attendants ; one in partioulsr 
had the appearance of half a man and half a 
beast, his body being clad in a green frock-coat| 
whilst his legs and feet were shaggy, and made 
to imitate a bear's. 

The most remarkable part of this exhibition 
was the expression upon the countenances of 
the figiures. They were ordinary masks, and 
consequently greatly out of proportion for the 
height of the figures. There was a stzonff 
family resemblance between the traitor and 
his arresters; neither did Fawkes's coun- 
tenance exhibit any look of rage, astonishment, 
or disappointment at finding his designs fhis- 
trated. Nor did their lordships appear to be 
angn-, disgusted, or thunderstruck at the con- 
spirator's bold attempt. 

In the neighbourhood of Bond-street the 
guys partook of a political character, as if to 
please the various Members of Parliament who 
might be strolling to their Clubs. In oaie 
barrow was the effigy of the Emperor of the 
Fi'ench, holding in his hands, instead of the 
lantern and matches, a copy of the 2%ms 
newspaper, torn in hcdf. I was informed that 
another figure I saw was intended to represent 
the form of Bomba. 

In the neighbourhood of Lambeth Palaee 
the gn^ys were of an ecclesiastical kind, and 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



07 



as it was imagined would be likely to 
' the Archbishop of Canterbtuy into 
' at least a half-crown. One of the»e was 
I bj two donkeys, and accompanied by 
I and pipes. It represented Cardinal 
mm in Uie company of four members of 
H0I7 Inquisition." The Cardinal wab 
d in the nsoal scarlet costome, while the 
bUhv were robed in black with green 
oiver their faces. In front of the cart 
bottle, labelled ** Holy Water," which 
ootinnally turned round, so that the 
» might discover that on the other side 
tinted " YThUky.- 

* practice of burning guys, and lighting 
es. and letting oft fireworks, is now 
ally discontinued, and particularly as 
b the public exhibitions at Blackheath 
'eekham Kye. The greatest display of 
cin* we are inclined to believe, took 
in the public streets of the metropolis, 
I to twelve o'clock at night, one might oc- 
lally hear reports of penny cannons, and 
riiy explosions of crackers. 

Guy Fawkes (Man). 

in the crock'iy line, going about with a 
t and changing jugs, and glass, and 
i» for clothes and that; but for the last 
years I have, every Fifth of Novt»mlK?r, 
out with a guy. It's a good job for tlu^ 
for what little we lay out on the guy we 
nusa, and the money comes in all of 
np at the last. While it lasts there's 
;▼ to bo made by it. I used always to 
the gfiqr about for two days ; but tliis lost 
I foc« him about for three. 
wwM nineteen year old when I first went 
itb a gruy. It was seeing others about 
'An, and being out of work at the time, 
hBving nothing to sell, I and another 
we knocked up one between us, and we 
I it go on pretty well, so we kept on at 
[he first one I took out was a very first- 
Imt we'd got it up as well as we could 
iw people*s attention. I said, * It ain't no 
domg as the others do, wc must have 
topper.' It represented Guy Fawkes in 
velvet. It was about nine feet high, 
le was standing upright, with matches in 
land and lantern in the other. I show'd 
me round Clerkeuwell and Islington. It 
Iw first big 'un as was ever brought out. 
s had been paper ones as big, but ne'er 
dressed up in the style mine was. 1 had 
okey and cart, and we placed it against 
croes-rails and some bits of wood to 
him steady. He stood firm because he 
two poles up his legs, and being lashed 
1 the boily holding him firm to the posts 
c a rock. We done better the first time 
ent out than we do lately. The guy must 
eost a sovereign. He had a trunk-hose 
white legs, which we made out of a pair 
bite drawers, for fleshings and yeUow 



boots, which I bought in Petticoatlcne. We 
took over 3/. with him, whicli was pretty fhir, 
and just put us on again, for November is a 
bad time for most street trades, and getting 
a few shillings all at once mokes it all right 
till Christmas. 

** A pal of mine, of the name of Smith, was 
the first as ever brought out a big one. His 
wasn't a regular dressed-up one, but only with 
a paper apron to hang down the front and 
bows, and such -like. He put it on a chair, 
and had four boys to carry it on their shoul- 
ders. He was the first, too, as introduced 
clowns to dance about. I see him do well, 
and that's why I took mine in hand. 

** The year* they was chalking * No Popery* 
all about the walls I had one, dressed up in 
a long black garment, with a red cross on his 
bosom. I'm sure I don't know what it meant, 
but they told mo it would be popular. I had 
only one figure, witli nine bows, and that 
tidiwated all about him. As we went along 
everybody shouted out *No Popery 1' Every- 
body did. He had a large brimmed hat with 
a low crown in, and a wax mask. I always 
had wax ones. I've got one at home now 
I've had for five year. It cost two-and-six- 
pence. It's a very good-looking face but rathor 
sly, with a great horse-hair beard. Most of 
the boys make their'n de>ils, and as ugly as 
they con, but that wouldn't do for Christians 
like as I represent mine to be. 

" One year I hod Nicholas and his adviser. 
That was tho Emperor of Russia in big top- 
boots and white breeches, and a green coat 
on. I gave him a good bit of mustachios — 
a little extra. He had a Russian helmet hat 
on, with a pair of eagles on the top. It was 
one I bought. I bought it cheap, for I only 
gave a shilling for it. I was oflered five or 
six for it aftem-ards, but I found it answer my 
purpose to keep. I had it dressed up this 
year. Tlie other figure was the devil. I made 
him of green tinsel papur cut out like scale 
armour, and pasted on to his legs to make it 
stick tight He had a devil's mask on, and 
I made him a pair of horns out of his head. 
Over them was a banner. I was told what to 
do to make the banner, for I hod the letters 
writ out first, and then I cut 'em out of tinsel 
paper and stuck them on to glazed calico. On 
this banner was these words : — 

' What shall I do next V 
* Why, blow your broiua out 1 ' 

That took immensely, for the people said 
* That is wery well.* It was tlie time the war 
was on. I dare say I took between 3/. and 4/. 
that time. There was thre«> of us rowed in 
with it, so we got a few shillings a-piece. 

"The best one I ever had was the trial of 
Guy Fawkes. There was foiur figures, and 
they was drawn about in a horse and cart. 
There was Guy Fawkes, and two soldiers had 
hold of him, and thpre was the king sitting in 
a chair in front. The king was in a acariet 



88 



LOSDOS LABOUR ASD THE LOXDOy POOB, 



yelvet cloak, sitting in an old arm-choir, 
papered over to make it look decent. There 
was green and blue paper hanging over the 
arms to hide the ragged parts of it The 
king's cloak cost sevenponce o-yard, and there 
was seven of these jards. He had a gilt paper 
crown and a long black wig made out of some 
rope. His trunks was black and crimson, and 
he had blue stockings and red boots. I made 
him up out of my own head, and not from pic- 
tures. It was just as I thought would be the 
best way to get it up, out of my own head. I've 
seed the picture of Guy Fawkes, because I've 
got a book of it at home. I never was no scho- 
lar, not in the least The soldiers had a breast- 
plate of white steel paper, and baggy knee- 
breeches, and top boots. They had a big pipe 
each, with a top cut out of tin. Their helmets 
was the same us in the pictures, of steel paper, 
and a kind of a disli-cover shape, with a petRi 
in front and behind. Guy was dressed the same 
kind as he was this year, with a black velvet 
dress and red cloak, and red boots turning 
over at U)p, with lace sewed on. I never made 
any of my figures fVightful. I get 'em as near 
as I can to the life hkc. 

^* I reckon that show was the best as I ever 
had about I done ver}- well with it They said 
it was a very good sight, and well got up. 
I dare say it cost me, with one thing and 
another, pretty nigh 4/. to get up. There was 
two of us to shove, me and my brother. 
I know I had a sovereign to myself when 
it was over, besides a little bit of meriy- 
moking. 

This year I hod the apprehension of Guy 
Fawkes by Lord Suflfolk and Monteagle. I've 
followed up the hLst'ry as close as I can. Next 
year I shall have him being burnt, with a lot 
of faggits and things about him. This year 
the figures cost about 3/. getting up. Fawkes 
was dressed in his old costume of black velvet 
and red boots. I bought some black velvet 
breeches in Petticoat-lone, and I gave Is. Od. 
for the two pair. They was old theatrical 
breeches. Their lordships was dressed in 
gold scale-armour like, of cut-out paper pasted 
on, and their legs imitated steel. They 
had three-comer cock'd hats, with white fea- 
thers in. I always buy fierce-looking masks 
^ith frowns, but one of them this year was 
a smiling — Lord Monteagle, I think. I took 
the figures as near as I can form from a pic- 
ture I saw of Guy Fawkes being apprehended. 
I placed them figures in a horse and cart, 
and piled them up on apple-chests lo the level 
of the cart, so they showed all, their feet and 
all. I bind the chests with a piece of table- 
cover cloth. The first day we went out we 
took 2/. 7»., and the second we took 1/. 17.s„ 
and the last day we took 21. U. We did 
so well the third day because we went into 
the country, about Tottenham and Eilmonton. 
They never witnessed such a thing down 
them parts. The drummer what I had with 
me was a blind man, and well known down 



there. They call him Friday, beoanse he goes 
there every Friday, so what they usually gava 
him we had. Our horse was blind, so we ifM 
obliged to have one to lead him in front aoA 
anoUier to lead the blind dnunmer behmdL 
We paid the drummer 16<. for the three dajt* 
We paid for two days 10«., and the. thud ooa 
most of it came in, and we all went shaieai 
It was a pony more than a horse. I think 
we got about a 1/. a-piece clear, when ira 
was done on the Friday night It took ma 
six weeks getting up in my leisure time. 
There was the Russian bear in front Ha 
wore a monkey dress, the same as in tha 
pantomimes, and that did just as well fijr 
a bear. I painted his face as near as I oonld 
get it to moke it look frightfhL 

" AVhen I'm building up a guy we firat f&i 
some bags and things, and cut 'em out to At 
shape of the legs and things, and then sew U 
up. We sew the body and arms and all rcmnd 
together in one. Wo puts two poles down fat 
the legs and then a cross-piece at the baQr 
and another cross-piece at the shoulder, and 
that holds 'em firm. We fiU the legs with 
sawdust, and stuff it down with our hands to 
make it tight It takes two sacks of aantrdmi 
for tliree figures, but I generally have it giro 
to me, for I know a young feller as worln at 
the wood- chopping. We stand 'em up in tha 
room against the wall, whilst we are dressing 
them. We have lots of chaps come to see us 
working at the guys. Some will sit thara 
for many hoiu^ looking at us. We stuff the 
body with shavings and paper and any sort of 
rubbish. I sew whatever is wanted mptUg 
and in fact my fingers is sore now with the 
thimble, for I don't know how to use a thiraMe^ 
and I feel awkward with it. I design etexy* 
thing and cut out all the clothes and tha 
painting and all. They allow me 5f. for the 
building. This last group took me six weeka, 
— not constant, you know, but only laiy tima 
of a night. I lost one or two days over it, 
that's alL 

** I think there was more Guy Fawkeses oni 
this year than ever was out before. There 
was one had Guy Fawkes and Punch and 
a Clown in a cart, and anotlier was liisa 
Nightingale and two soldiers. It was meant 
to be complimentary to that lady, but for 
myself I think it insulting to bring out a ladr 
like that as a guy, when she's done good 
to all. 

" They always reckon me to be about the 
first hand in London at building a guy. 
I never see none like them, nor no one else 
I don't think. It took us two quire of gold 
paper and one quire of silver paper to do 
the armour and the banner and other things. 
The gold paper is 6d. a-sheet, and the silver 
is Id. a sheet It wouldn't look so noble if 
we didn't use the gold paper. 

"This year we had three clowns with oa, 
and we paid them 3s. a-day each. I waa 
dressed up as a clown, too. We had to dance 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR, 



00 



dbont, and Joke, and say wbat we thought 
vwdd be ttaaij to the people. I bad a 
diQd in mj arma made of a doll stuffed with 
durdoga, and made to represent a little boy. 
It was juat to make a laugh. Every one 
I went up to I told the doU to ask their uncle 
«r their aunt far a copper. I had another 
nore, too, of calling for * Bill Bowers ' in the 
crowd, and if I got into any row, or anything, 
I used to call to him to protect me. We hid 
no time to say much, for we kept on moving, 
and it loses time to talk. 

* We took the guy round Goswell-road and 
Pentonville the first day, and on the second 
w« waa round Bethnal-green way, among the 
weavers. We went that way for safety the 
Mcond day, for the police won't interrupt you 
fl«re. The private houses give tlio most 
They fery seldom give more than a penny. 
I dun't 8upj[>ot»e we got more than Ss. or 4s. in 
aSver all the three days. 

** Sometimes we have rough work with the 
Irish going about with guys. The ' No 
PopeiT * year tliere was several rows. I was 
up at Iidington-gate, there, in the Lower-road, 
and there's loads of Irish live up there, and a 
loogh lot they are. They came out with sticks 
and bricks, and cut after us. We bolted with 
the guy. If our guy hadnt been very Arm, 
H would have been jolted to bits. We always 
&nli:d straps round the feet, and support it on 
rails at the waist, and lashed to the sides. 
We bolted from this Irish mob over Islington - 
green, and down John -street into Clerkenwell. 
My mate got a nick with a stone just on the 
head. It just give him a sli^'ht hurt, and 
drawed the blood from him. Wo jumped up 
ID the donkey-cart and drove off. 

•• There was one guy was pulled out of the 
eirt this year, down by Old Gravel-lane, in the 
Baicfiff-higliway. They pulled Miss Nightin- 
gale out of the cart and ran away with her, 
and regular destroyed the two soldiers that was 
<m eadi aide of her. Sometimes the cab- 
men lash at the guys with their whips. We 
never say anything to them, for fear we 
mi^ht get stopped by the police for making 
a row. You stand a chance of having a 
feather knocked off, or such-likC| as is attached 
to them. 

■* There's a lot of boys goes about on the 5th 
with fldcks, and make a reprular businofis of 
knocking guys to irieces. The/re called guy- 
tmashers. They don't come to us. we're too 
•trong for that, but they only manage the 
fittle ones, as they can take advantage of. 
They do this some of tliem to take tlie money 
the biivs have collected. I have had regular 
prigs following my show, to ])ick the pockets 
of those looking on, but as sure as I see them 
I start tliem off by putting a policeman on to 
them. 

"When we're showing, I don't take no 
trouble to invent new rhymes, but stick to the 
r>ld poetry. There's some do new songs. I 
luually &ing out, — 



No. LIX. 



' OentlefoIkB, praj 

BeaMmbwr this day; 
Tia with kind zuitioa we bzing 

TbefijTureofalv 

And villAnoua Ouy, 
Wko wanted to murder the king. 

By nowdnr and otore, 

His bitterly gwota. 
iji ho ekulk'd in the walla to repair. 

The parliament, too. 

By lam and his crew, 
Should all be blowod up in the air. 

But James, "rery wise. 
Did the PapistH sunnise. 

As they plotted the cruelty groat ; 
He know'd their intent, 
4^0 Suffolk hu sent 

To save both kingdom and state. 
Ouy Fairibos he was found 
With a lantern unduiground. 

And soon was the traitor bound fast : 
And they swore he should di(^ 
8o they hang him up high. 

And bornt him to ashes at last. 
So we, once a-year. 
Come round without fear. 

To keopup remembruneo of this day ; 
While aasistftuce from you 
May brinf( a review 

Of Guy Fawkes a-blaziug away. 

So hollo, boys f hollo, bojrs ! 

Sliout and huzsa ; 
So hollo, boys ! hollo, boys ! 

Keep up this day ! 
So hollo, boys ! hollo, ooys f 

An<l make the bells ring ! 
Down with the Pope, and God save the Queen !* 

" It used to be King, but we say Queen now, 
and though it don't rh}iiic, it's more correct. 

" It's very seldom that the police say anything 
to us, 80 long as we don't stop too long in the 
gangway not to create any mob. They join in 
the fun and laugh like the rest. Wherever we 
go there is a great crowd from morning to 
night. 

** We have dinner on Ouy Fawkea' doys be- 
tween one and two. We go to any place where 
it's convenient for us to stop at, generally at 
some public-house. We go inside, and leave 
some of the lads to look after the guy outside. 
We always keep near the window, where we 
can look out into the street, and we keep our- 
selves ready to pop out in a minute if any- 
body should attack the guy. We generally go 
into some by-way, where there ain't mucJi 
traffic. We never wos interrupted much whilst 
we was at dinner, only by boys chucking stones 
and flinging things at it ; and tliey run off aa 
soon as wo come out. 

" There's one party that goes out with a 
guy that sells it afterwards. They stop in 
London for the iirst two days, and then they 
work their way into the country as fur as 
Sheemess, and then they sells the guy to form 
part of tlio procession on Lord -mayor's day. 
It's the watermen and ferrymen mostly bu}- it, 
and they carry it about in a kind of merriment 
among themselves, and at night they bum it 
and let off fireworks. They don't make no 
charge for coming to see it bunit, but it's 
open to the uir and free to the public. 

<* None of the good guj's taken about od 



Y' 



* 



70 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



the 5th are burnt at night, nnlegs some gen- 
tlemen buy them. I used to sell mine at one 
time to the Albert Saloon. Sometimes they'd 
give me V)». for it, and sometimes less, accord- 
ing to what kind of a one I had. Three years, 
I think, I sold it to them. They used to bum 
it at first in the gardens at the back, but after 
they found the gardens fill very well without 
it, so they wouldn't have any more. 

'* I always take the sawdust and shavings 
out of my guys, and save the clothes for another 
year. The clothes are left in my possession 
to be taken core of. I make a kind of private 
bonfire in our yard with the sawdust and 
shavings, and the neighbours oome there and 
have a kind of a spree, and shove one another 
into the fire, and kick it about the yard, and 
one thing and another. 

" When I am building the guy, I begin about 
six weeks before 5th of November comes, and 
then we subscribe a shillmg or two each and 
buy such things as we wants. Then, when we 
wants more, I goes to my pals, who live close 
by, and we subscribe another shilling or six- 
pence each, according to how we gets on in 
the day. Nearly aU those that take out guys 
are mostly street traders. 

*' The heaviest expense for any guy I've built 
was 4/. for one of four figures." 

Guy Fawkes (Boy). 

^ I ALWAYS go out with a Guy Fawkes every 
year. I'm seventeen years old, and I've been 
out with a guy ever since I can remember, ex- 
oept last year ; I didn't then, because I was in 
Middlesex Hospital with an abscess, brought 
on by the rbeumatio fever, I was in the hos- 
pital a month. My father was an undertaker; 
he's been dead four moi^hs : mother carries 
onjthe trade. He didn't lik« my going out 
with guys, but I always would* He didn't like 
it at all, he used to sny it was a disgrace. 
Mother didn't much fiincy my doing it this 
year. When I was a very little un, I was carried 
about for a guy. I couldn't a been more than 
seven years old when I first begun. They put 
paper-hangings round my legs — they got it 
from Baldwin's, in the Tottenham Court-road; 
sometimes they bought, and sometimes got it 
give 'em ; but they give a rare lot for a penny 
or twopence. After that they put me on a 
apron made of the same sort of paper — showy, 
you know — then they put a lot of tinsel bows, 
and at the comers they cut a sort of tail like 
there is to farriers' aprons, and it look stun- 
nin' ; then they put on my chest a tinsel heart 
and rosettes ; they was green and red, because 
it shows off. All up my arms I had bows and 
things to make a show-off. Then I put on a 
black mask with a little red on the cheek, to 
make me look like a devil : it had boras, too. 
Always pick out a devil's mask with horns : it 
looks fine, and ftightens the people a'most 
The boy that dressed me was a very clever 
chap, and made a guy to rights. Why, he 



made me a little guy about a foot high, ta 
carry in my lap— it was piecings of qmlting 
like, a sort of patch-work all sewn together,-^ 
and then he filled it with saw-dust, and made' 
a head of shavings. He picked the shavings-' 
small, and then sewed 'em up in a little bag ^ 
and then he painted a fiice, and it looked wer^ 
well; and he made it a little tinsel bob-tail 
coat, and a tinsel cap with two feathers on the 
top. It was made to sit in a chair; and 
there was a piece of string tied to each of the 
legs and the arms, and a string come behind; 
and I used to pull it, and the legs and arms' 
jumped up. I was put in a chair, and two old 
broom-handles was put through the rails, and 
then a boy got in front, and another behind^ 
and carried me off round Holbom way in the 
streets and squares. Every now and then they 
put me down before a window ; then one of 
'em used to say the speech, and I used all the 
time to keep pulling the string of my little 
guy, and it amused the children at the win> 
ders. After they'd said the speech we all 
shouted hurrah ! and tlusn Kome of them went 
and knocked at the door and asked * Please to 
remember the guy;' and the little childrea 
brought us ha'pence and pence; and some- 
times the ladies and gentlemen chucked us 
some money out of the winder. At last they 
carried me into Russell-square. They pat hm 
down befbre a gentleman's house and begun 
saying the speech : while they was saying itp 
up comes a lot o' boys with sticks in iheir 
hands. One of our chaps knowed what they 
was after, and took the little guy out of my 
hand, and went on saving the speech. I kept 
all on sitting still. After a bit one of thes« 
'ere boys says, * Oh, it's a dead guy; let's have & 
lark with it ! ' and then one of 'em gives me a 
punch in the eye with his fist, and then snatched 
the mask off my face, and when he'd pulled it 
off he says, * Oh, BUI, it's a live un!* Wa 
was afraid we should get the worst of it, so wa 
run away round the square. The biggest cma 
of our lot carried the chair. Alter we'd run. 
a little way they caught us again, and says^ 
* Now then, give us all your money ; ' with 
that, some ladles and gentlemen that see it all 
came up to 'em and says, ' If you don't go we'll 
lock you up ; ' and so they let us go away. And 
so we went to another place where they sold 
masks; and we bought another. Then they 
asked me to be guy again, but I wouldn't, for 
I'd got a black-eye through it already. So 
they got another to finish out the day. When 
we got home at night we shared 2t. ft- 
piece. There was five of us altogether; but I 
think they chisselled me. I know they got A 
deal more than that, for they'd had a good 
many sixpences and shillings. People usent 
to think much of a shilling that time a-day, 
because there wasn't any but little guys about 
then ; but I don't know but what the people 
now encourage little guys most, because thif 
say that the chaps with the big ones ought to 
go to work. 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOB. 



71 



•" Next year I was ont with a stuffed guy. 
Tb^ wanted me to be gay again, because I 
visn't frightened easy, and I was lightish ; but 
I told *em * No, Tve had enough of being guy ; 
I don*! be guy any more : besides, I had such 
^B0 money for getting a whack in the eye ! ' 
We got on pretty well that year; but it gets 
VDB and wns every year. We got hardly any- 
tiung this year ; and next I don't suppose we 
4iall get anything at all. These chaps that 
go alMiit pitchin' into guys we call 'guy 
aoashers;' but they don't do it only for the 
krk of smashing the guys : they do it for the 
purpose of taking the boys' money away, and 
flometimes the clothes. If one of 'em has a 
bde in his boots, and he sees a guy with a 
food x>air on, he pretty soon pulls 'em of the 
goy and hooks it off with 'em. 

** After I'd been out with guys for three 
«r four years, I got big enough to go to work, 
and I used to go along with my brother and 
help hsn at a ooal-shed, carrying out coals. I 
was there ten months, and then one night — a 
bitter cold night, it was freezing hard — we had 
1 ji^htha lamp to light in the shop ; and as 
"Be and my brother was doing it, cither apiece 
tif the match dropped in or else he poured it 
over, I cant say which, but all at once it ex- 
ploded and blowed me across the road and 
knocked him in the shop all a-flre; and I was 
all a-fire, too — see how it's burnt my face and 
the hand I held the lucifer in. A woman run 
out of the next shop with some wet sacks, and 
:diraw'd 'em upon me, but it flared up higher 
then : water dont put it out, unless it's a mass 
of water l^ce a engine. Then a milkman run 
Up and pulled off his cape and throwed it over 
me, ana that put it out ; then he set me up, 
and I run home, though I don't know how 1 
fot thoe, and for two day^ after I didn't know 
:Snybody. Another man ran into the shop and 
pulled out my brother, and we was both taken 
to the University HospitaL Two or three 
people touched me, and the skin came off on 
their hands, and at nine o'clock the next 
jBomingmy brother died. When they took 
me to the hospital they had no bed forme, and 
to they sent me home again, and I was seven 
months before I got well. But I've never 
been to aay well since, and I shall never be fit 
for hard work any more. 

** The next year I went out with a guy 
again, and I got on pretty well ; and so I've 
dime every year since, except last. I've had 
several litUe places since I got bumt^ but they 
haven't lasted long. 

* This year I made a stunning guy. First of 
till got a ]>air of my own breeches — black 
VIS— and stuffed 'em full of shavings. I tied 
the bottoms with a bit of string. Then I got 
a blaek eoat— that belonged to another boy — 
and sewed it all round to the trousers ; then 
we filled that with shavings, and give him a 
good oorpoimtlon. Then we got a block, sich 
IS the milliners have, and shoved that right 
ia the neck of the coat, and then we shoved 



some more shavings all round, to make it stick 
in tight ; and when that was done it looked just 
like a dead man. I know something about 
dead men, because my father was always in 
that line. Then we got some horsehair and 
some glue, and plastered the head all round 
with glue, and stuck the horse-hair on to imi- 
tate the hair of a man ; then we put the mask 
on : it was a twopenny one — they're a great 
deal cheaper than they used to be, you can get 
a very good one now for a penny — it had a 
great big nose, and it had two red horns, black 
eyebrows, and red cheeks. I like devils, they're 
so ugly. I bought a good-looldng un two or 
three years ago. and wo didn't get hardly any- 
thing, the people said, *Ah! it's too good- 
looking; it don't frighten us at all.' Well, 
then, after we put on his mask we got two 
gloves, one was a woollen un, and the other a kid 
un, and stuffed them full of shavings, and tied 
'em down to the chair. We didn't have no 
lantern, 'cos it keeps on falling out of his hands. 
After that we put on an old pair of lace-up 
boots. We tied 'em on to the legs of the 
breeches. The feet mostly twistes round, but 
we stopped that; we shoved a stick up the leg of 
his breeches, and the other end into the boot, 
and tied it, and then it couldn't twist round 
very easy. After that we put a paper hanging- 
cap on his head ; it was silk- velvet kind of 
paper, and decorated all over with tinsel bows. 
His coat we pasted all over with blue and green 
tinsel bows and pictures. They was painted 
theatrical characters, what we buy at the shop 
a ha'penny a sheet plain, and penny a sheet 
coloured : we bought 'em plain, and coloured 
them ourselves. A-top of his hat we put a 
homament. We got some red paper, and cut it 
into narrow strips, and curled it with the blade 
of the scissors, and stuck it on like a feather. 
We made him a fine apron of hanging-paper, 
and cut that in slips up to his knees, and curled 
it with the scissors, the same as his feather, 
and decorated it with stars, and bows, and 
things, made out of paper, all manner of 
colours, and pieces of tinseL After we'd 
finished the guy we made ourselves cock'd 
hats, all alike, and then we tied him in a chair, 
and wrote on his breast, * Villanous Chty.* 
Then we put two broomsticks under the chair 
and carried him out. There was four of us, 
and the two that wasn't canying, they had a 
large bough of a tree each, with a knob at the 
top to protect the guy. We started off at once, 
and got into the squares, and put him in Aront of 
the gentlemen's houses, and said this speech: — 

•Pray, gentlefolka, pray 

Romomb«r this day. 
At which kind notice we bring 

This figxire of dy. 

Old. vUlanous Guy, 
He wanted to murder the king. 

With powder in store. 

He bitterly swore 
By him in the vaulte to compare, 

By him and his crew, 

And parliament, ton. 
Should all be blow'd up in the air. 



79 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON JPOOB. 



Bo ploftae to remombor 

The fifth of Norember, 
The Bunpowder titnaoD and plol, 

1 aeo no reason 

Why gunpowder troMon 
Should ever be foii^t. 

So hollo, boye ! hollo^ bojre I 
Shout otil the day ! 

Hollo, boys ! hollo, boys I 
Hollo, Hurrah ! 

'* After we'd finished our speech in one of the 
tqnareB, and hollowed Hurrah! the beadle 
come out, and said he'd give us the stick about 
our bocks, and the guy too, if we didn't go away. 
&o we went away, and got into Russcil-square 
and Bedford-square ; but there was such a lot 
of small guys out, that we did worse than ever 
we'd done before. When wo was in South- 
ampton-btreet, Holbom, I finished the speech 
with ' Down with the Pope, and God save the 
Qocen ;' so four shoe-bluok ben's come up, and 
says, says they, * What do you say, Down \**ith 
tho Pope and God save the Queen for?' And 
1 says, * 1 didn't moan no harm of iL' With 
that they makes use of some bod language, and 
toM me they'd smash my head and tho guy's 
too ; and they was going to do it, when up 
oomofl a boy that I knew, and I says to him, 
'They're going to knock mo about;' so he 
says, * No they won't ;' so then tho boys maile 
their r.'ply, and said thi^ would. So I told 
'em they was very fast about fighting, I'd fight 
one of them ; so with that they all got ready 
to pitch upon me : but when they see this 
other boy stuck to mo, they went oti, and never 
Atnick a blow. When we got homo I opened 
the money-box and shared tho money; one 
had bd,, and two had ^d. each, imd I hod Id. 
because I said the speech. At night we pulled 
him all to pieces, and burnt his stutfing, and let 
off some squibs and crackers. I always used 
to spend the money I got guying on myself. I 
used to buy somi 'times fowls, because I could 
sell tlie eggs. There is some boys that take 
out guys as do it for the sake of getting a 
bit of bread and butter, but not many as I 
knows of. 

** It don't cost much to mako a gny. The 
clothes we never bums — tliey're generally too 
good : they're our own clothes, what we wears 
at other times ; and when people bum a guy 
they always pull off any of the Uiings that's of 
use ftist ; but mostly the guy gets pulled all to 
pieces, and only the shanugs gets burnt.'' 

Ax Old Stbest Showxan. 

A sHont, thick-set man, with small, puckered- 
up eyes, aiid dressed in an old brown velveteen 
shooting-jacket gave me an account of some 
bygone exhibitions^ of the galanteo show. 

*• My father was a soldier," he said, " and 
was away in foreign parts, and I and a sister 
Hved "with my mother in St, Martin's work- 
house. I was fifty- five last New-year's -duy. 
My unde, a bootmaker in St Mortin's-lane, 
took my mother out of the workhouse, that 



she might do a little washing, and pick up a 
linng for herself; and we children went to 
live with my grandfather, a tailor. After his 
death, and after many chanses, we had a 
lodging in the Dials, and thero — ^, the 
sweep, coaxed me with pudding one day, and 
encouraged me so well, that I didn't like to go 
bock to my mother ; and at last I was 'pren- 
ticed to him from Hatton-Garden on a mouth's 
trial, and I liked chimley-sweeping for thst 
month ; but it was quite dillerent when I wsa 
regularly indentured. I was cruelly-treated 
then, and poorly fed, and had to turn out 
barefooted between three and four man^ a 
morning in frost and snow. In first climbmg 
the chimleys, a man stood beneath me, ana 
pushed me up, telling me how to use mj 
elbows and knees, and if I slipped, he was 
beneath me and kctched me, and shoved me 
up again. Tlie skin camo off my knees and 
elU>ws; here's the marks now, you see. I 
suffered a invent deal, as well as Dan Du£t^ a 
fellow-swccp, a boy that died. Tve been to 
Mrs. Montague's dinner in the Square on the 
1st of May, when I was a boy-sweep. It was 
a dinner m honour of her son having been 
stolen away by a sweep." (The man's own 
wortlfi.) "I suppose there were more than 
three hundred of us sweeps there, in a large 
green, at Uie back of her house. I run awaj 
from my master once, but was carried back» 
and was rather better used. My master then 
got me knee and ankle-pads, and batlied n^ 
limbs in salt and water, and I managed to 
drag on seven sorrowful years with him. I 
was glad to be my own man at last, and I cut 
the sweep- trade, bought paodean pipes, and 
started with an organ-man, as his mate. I 
saved money witli the organ-man and then 
bought a drum. Ho gave me five shillings, 
a-week and my wittles and drink, washing and 
lodging ; but there wasn't so much music afloat 
then. I left Uie music-man and went out 
with ' Michael,' the Italy bear. Michael was 
the man's name that brought over the bear 
from somewhere abroad. He was a Ital}* man; 
I and he used to beat the bear, and manage her; 
j they called her Jenny ; but Michael ^-as not 
I to say roughish to her, unless she was obstro- 
I pelous. If she were, he showed her the large 
! mop-stick, and beat her with it — hard some- 
times — specially when she wouldn't let the 
monkey get a top on her head ; for that was 
a part of the performance. The monkey was 
dressed the same as a soldier, but the bear 
had no dress but her muzzle and chain. The 
monkey (a clover fellow he was. and could 
jump over sticks like a Christian) was called 
Billy. He jumped up and down the bear, too, 
and on his master's shoulders, where he set 
as Michael walked up and down the streets. 
Tho bear had been taught to roll and tumble. 
She rolled right over her head, all round a 
stick, and th(>n she danced round about it. 
She did it. at the word of command. IMicbnul 
1 said to her, * Hound and round again.' We 



tONJDOK LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



73 



fed bar on bread, a qoaitem-loaf every night 
afkerherwoik in half-a-pail of water, the same 
emy morning ; never any meat— notliing bat 
Inad. boiiad 'tatoea, or raw canota: meat 
voold hava mada her savage. The monkey 
m fed upon nata, apples, gingerbread, or 
■tything. Beaidea them we had two dancing- 
dogi. Tlia bear didnt Uke them, and they 
wre kept on one side in performing. The 
dqp jiunpad through hoops, and danced on 
flinr Una legs; they're easyish enough trained. 
SoDietiniea the batchers set bull- dogs, two or 
thiee at a tima, at Jenny ; and Michael and me 
httl to boat them off as well as the two other 
■en that we had with us. Those two men col- 
laotad the money, and I played the pipes and 
dniBi, and Miohaal minded the bear and the 
dogs and monkey. In London we did very well. 
The West-end was the best. Whitechapel was 
BRwded for us, but only with ha'pence. I 
don't know what Michael made, but I had 
Mfven shilHngs a-week, with my wittles and 
kd^ng. Michael done well. We generally 
had twenty to thirty shillings every ni^ht in 
ha'pence, and used to ^vo twcnt^'-onc shillings 
af It for a one-pound note ; for they was in 
than. When we've travelled in the country, 
we've sometimes had trouble to get lodgings 
%K the bear. We've had to sleep in outhouses 
widi her, and have sometimes frightened people 
that didn't know as we was there, but nothing 
■Minns Bears is well-behaved enough if they 
aiii*t amravated. Perhaps no one but nio is 
JaA in Enghind now what properly understands 
adaBMong-bear. 

^ Jenny wasn't ever baited, but offers was 
Bade for it by sporting characters. 

** The country was better than London, 
whan the weather aUowed ; but in Gloucester, 
Chahftnham, and a good many places, we 
w ien t let in the high streets. 

* The gentlelblk in the balconies, both in 
tofwn and country, where they had a good 
■gfat, were our best friends. 

■"It's mora than thirty years ago — yes, a 
gaod bit more now; at Chester races, gne 
yaar, we were all taken, and put into prison : 
War, and dogs, andmusicianer, and all— every 
ana-— because we played a day after the races ; 
Ibatwaa Saturday. 

^ We were all in quod until Monday morn- 
ing. I don't know how the authorities fed the 
bsar. We wero each in a separate cell, and I 
kai braad and cheese, and gruel. 

** Oa Mondi^ morning we were discharged, 

~ the bear was shot by the magistrate's 



«dm. They wanted to bang poor Jenny at 
Int, bat she was shot, and sold to the hair- 

* I aonldn't stay to see her shot, and had to 
is into an alehouse on the road. I don't 
kaow vbat her caaoase sold for. It wasn't 
nnhL 

** Michael and me then parted at Chester, 
Hd ha want home rich to Italy, taking his 
Mtaksj aiMl dofa vith him, I believe. 



** He lived very careful, chiefly on rice and 
cabbage, and a veiy little meat with it, which 
he called ' manesta.' He was a very old man. 
I had ' manesta ' sometimes, but I didn't like 
it much. I drummed and piped my way 
from Chester to London, and there took up 
with another forei^er, named Green, in the 
dock-work-flgure hne. 

*< The figures were a Turk called Blue- 
beard, a sailor, a lady called Lady Catarina, 
and Neptune's car, which we called Nelson's car 
as well ; but it wjjts Neptune's car by rights. 

** These figures danced on a table, when 
taken out of a box. Each had its own dance 
when wound up. 

^ First came my Lady Catarina. She, and 
the others of tliem, were full two feet high. 
She had a cork body, and a very handsome 
silk dress, or muslin, according to the fashion^ 
or the season. Black in Lent, according ta 
what the nobility wore. 

" Lady Catarina, when wound up, danced a 
reel for seven minutes, the sailor a hornpipe,, 
and Bluebeard shook his head, rolled his 
eyes, and moved his sword, just as natural as 
life. Neptune's car went either straight or 
round Uie table, as it was set. 

" We often showed our performances in the 
houses of the nobility, and would get ten or 
twelve shillings at a good house, where there 
were children. 

**I had a third share, and in town and 
country we cleared fifty shilliugs a- week, at 
least, every week, among the three of us, after 
all our keep and expenses were paid. 

*^ At Doncaster races we have taken three 
pounds in a-day, and four pounds at Linooln 
races. 

^* Country, in stmimer, is better than town. 
There's now no such exhibition, barring the 
one I have ; but that's pledged. It cost twenty 
pounds at Mr. 's for the four figures with- 
out dress. I saved money, which went in an 
illness of rheumatic gout. There's no bears 
at all allowed now. Times are changed, and 
all for the worser. I stuck to the olock-work 
concern sixteen years, and knows all parts of 
the country — Ireland, Scotland, Guernsey, 
Jersey, and the Isle of Wight. 

** A month before Christmas we used to put 
the figures by, for the weather didn't suit; 
and then we went with a galantee show of a 
magic lantern. We showed it on a white 
sheet, or on the ceiling, big or little, in the 
houses of the gentlefolk, and the schools 
where there was a brouking-up. It was shown 
by way of a treat to the scholars. There was 
Harlequin, and Billy Button, and such-like. 
We had ten and sixpence and fifteen shillings 
for each performance, and did very well in- 
deed. I have that galantee show now, but 
it brings in very little. 

^ Green's dead, aud all in the line's dead, 
but me. The gaUmtee show don't answer, 
because magic lanterns are so cheap in the 
shops. When we started, magio lanterns 



74 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOS. 



wasn't so common ; but '^c can*t keep hold of 
a good thing in these times. It was a reg'lar 
thmg for Christmas once — the galantee 
shows* 

*'I can make, in a holiday time, twenty 
fihillings a-week; but thafs only at holiday 
times, and is just a mere casualty a few times 
a year. 

" I do other jobs, when I can get 'em — at 
other times, I delivers bills, carries boards, and 
helps at funerals.** 

The Chinese Shades. 

'* The proper name of my exhibition,** said a 
showman of this class to me, ** is Lez HombreSf 
or the shades ; that's the proper name for it, 
for Baron Rothschild told me so when I per- 
formed before him. We calls it the Chinese 
galantee show. It was invented over there 
with the Chinese, and some travellers went 
over there and see them doing it, and they 
come over here and tell us about it. They 
didn't do it as we do, you know. As for doing 
pieces, we lick them out of the field. Them only 
did the shadows, we do a piece with 'em. 

** I should say, sir, — let me calculate — it is 
about twenty-six years since the ombres first 
come out. Keduce it if you like, but that's the 
time. Thomas Paris was the first as come 
out with them. Then Jim Macklin, and Paul 
Herring the celebrated clown, and the best 
showman of Punch in the world for pantomime 
tricks — comic business, you know, but not for 
showing in a gentleman's house — ^was the next 
that ever come out in the streets with the 
Chinese galantee show. I think it was his own 
ingenuity that first gave him the notion. It 
was thoughts of mind, you know, — ^you form 
the opinion in your own mind, you know, by 
taking it Arom the Chinese. They met a 
fHend of theirs who had come from China, and 
he told him of the shadows. One word is as 
good as fifty, if it's a little grammatical — sound 
judgment. When it first come out, he began 
with the scene called ' Mr. Jobson the Cobbler,* 
and that scene has continued to be popular to 
the present day, and the best scene out. He 
did it just equaUy the same as they doHt now, 
in a Punch-and-Judy frame, with a piece of 
calico stretched in front, and a light behind to 
throw the shadows on the sheet. 

" Paul Herring did excellent well with it — 
nothing less than 30«. or 21. a-night. He 
didn't stop long at it, because he is a stage 
clown, and had other business to attend to. 
I saw him the first time he performed. It 
was in the Waterloo-road, and the next night 
I were out with one of my own. I only require 
to see a thing once to be able to do it ; but you 
must have ingenuity, or it's no use whatsum- 
diver. Every one who had a Punch-and-Judy 
firame took to it ; doing the regular business in 
the day and at night turning to the shadows. 
In less than a week there were two others out, 
and then Paul Hening cut it He only done 



it for a lark. He was hard up for mone 
got it 

'*! was the first that ever had a T^ 
piece acted in his show. I believe t 
nobody else as did, but only them that's < 
me. They come and follow me, you t 
stand, and copied me. I am the aiitl 
'Cobbler Jobson,' and * Kitty biling the I 
the Woodchopper's Frolic* There's 
Button's journey to Brentford on hors< 
and his favorite servant, Jeremiah Stitch< 
want of a situation.* I'm the author ol 
too. It*8 adapted firom the equestrian 
brought out at Astley's. I don't knon 
composed ' the Broken Bridge.' Ifs^ U 
gone by to trace who the first author is, 
was adapted firom the piece brought o\ 
merly at Drury-lane Theatre. Old ai 
gentlemen has told mo so who saw it, wl 
was first brought out, and they're old ei 
to be my grandfather. I've new revised 

"We in general goes out about 7 o' 
because we geti} away from the noisy ch 
—they place them to bed, and we ge 
spectable audiences. We choose our ] 
for pitching : Leicester-square is a very 
place, and so is Islington, but Regent-stJ 
about the principal. There's only two 
about now, for it's dying away. When 
mind to show I can show, and no mistal 
I'm better now than I was twenty years 

" * Kitty biling the Pot, or the Woodcho 
Frolic,' is this. The shadow of the firep] 
seen with the fire alight, and the stxu 
made to go up by mechanism. The 
chopper comes in very hungry and wan 
supper. He calls his wife to ask if the '. 
mutton is done. He speaks in a gruff 
He says, * My wife is very lazy, and I 
think my supper's done. I've been chc 
wood all the days of my life, and I "w 
bullock's head and a sack of potatoes.* 
wife comes t3 him and speaks in a squc 
voice, and she tells him to go and chop 
more wood, and in half-an-hour it w 
ready. Exaunt. Then the wife call 
daughter Kitty, and tells her to see thi 
pot don't boil over ; and above all to be 
and see that the cat don't steal the n 
out of the pot. Kitty says, * Yes, moiht 
take particular care that the mutton don^ 
the cat out of the pot.' Cross-question 
see — comic business. Then mother 
* Kitty, bring up the broom to sweep u 
room,' and Kitty replies, *Yes, mumm 
bring up the room to sweep up the bi 
Exaunt again. It's regular stage businei 
cross -questions. She brings up the t 
and the cat's introduced whilst she is sw& 
The cat goes Meaw ! meaw ! meaw ! and 
gives it a crack with the broom. Then 
gets the bellows and blows up the fire, 
beautiful representation, for you see her 
ing the bellows, and the fire get up, an 
sparks fly up the chimney. She says, 
don't make haste the mutton will be v\ 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



76 



\ the cat out of the pot' She blows the 
right out, and says, • Why, the fire's blowed 
bellows out ! but I dont mind, I shall go 
play at shuttlecock.' Child hke, yon see. 
1 the cat comes in again, and says, Meaw ! 
ir! and then gets up and steals the 
on. You see her drag it out by the claw, 
she bums herself and goes, spit ! spit ! 
1 the mother comes in and sees the fire 
and says, ' Where my daughter ? Here's 
lie out, and my husband's coming home, 
there isn't a bit of mutton to eat! ' She 
' Kitty, Kitty ! ' and when she comes, asks 
■e ahe's been. 'I've been playing at 
tleeock.' The mother asks, ' A^ you sure 
eat hasn't stolen the mutton.' * Oh, no, 
iiK>ther,' and exaunt again. Then the 
ler goes to the pot. She's represented 
a aquint, so she has one eye up the 
mey and another in the pot. She calls 
' Where's the mutton ? It must be down 
le bottom, or it has boiled away.' Then 
child comes in and says, 'Oh! mother, 
ler, here's a great he-she-tom cat been and 
! off with the mutton.' Then the mother 
down, and calls out, *I shall faint, I 
.faint! Oh! bring me a pail of gin.' Then 
leriTes, and goes and looks in the pot 
1. Irs regular stage business, and if it 
only done on a large scale would be 
ler^nL Then comes the correction scene, 
r comes to her, and her mother says, 
ere have you been ? ' and Kitty says, * Flay- 
■t shuttlecock, mummy;* and then the 
ler says, ' I'll give you some shuttlecock 
the gridiron,' and exaunt, and comes 
with the gridiron ; and then you see her 
Ae child on her knee correcting of her. 
& the woodchopper comes in and wants 
I9l»er, after chopping wood all the days 
s life. ' Wliere's supper ?' * Oh, a nasty 
he-the-tom cat has been and stole the 
!0Q out of the pot.' 'Wliat?' passionate 
:tjj, you see. 'Then she says, ' You must 
up with bread and cheese.* He answers. 
It don't suit some people,' and then comes 
ihL Then Spring-heeled Jack is intro- 
4, and he carries off the fireplace an(| pot 
iIL Exaunt That's the end of the piece, 
a TCiy good one it was. I took it from 
s» and improyed on it Paris had no 
c^ile figures. It was yery inferior. He 
no fire. It's a dangerous concern the fire 
IF it's done with a httle bit of the snufi* of 
ndle, and if you don't mind you go alight, 
ft beautiful performance. 
Oar exhibition generally begins with a 
w doing a hornpipe, and then the tight 
I dancing, and auer that the Scotch hom- 
i dancing. The little figures regularly 
• their legs as if dancing, Uie same as on 
•tage, onfy it's more cleverer, for they're 
la to do it by ingenuity. Then comes the 
e called ' Cobbler Jobson.' We call it * the 
dialile, eomic, and interesting scene of old 
EtfJohaon, the London cobbler ; or, the old 



Lady disappointed of her Slipper.' I am in 
front, doing the speaking and playing the music 
on the pandanean pipe. That's the real word 
for the pipe, from the Bomans, when they 
first invaded England. That's the first music 
ever introduced into England, when the 
Romans first invaded it. I have to do the 
dialogue in four difiierent voices. There is 
the child, the woman, the countryman, and 
myself, and there's not many as can do it 
besides me and another. 

** The piece called Cobbler Jobson is this. It 
opens wkh the shadow of a cottage on one side 
of the sheet, and a cobbler's stall on the other. 
There are boots and shoes hanging up in the 
windows of the cobbler's stall. Cobbler Jobson 
is supposed at work inside, and heard singing : 

'An old cobbler I am. 

And lire in mv stall ; 
It tonres me for nouse. 

Pariour, kitchen, and alL 
No coin in my pocket, 

No care in my pate, 
I dt down at my eaae^ 
And get drunk when I pleaae. 
Hi down, hi deny down. 

** Then he sings again : 

*La8t niffht I took a wife, 
And when I first did woo heiv 

I vowed I'd stick through life 
Like cobblers' wax \mto her. 

Hi down, denry down down down.' 

"Then the figure of a little girl comes in 
and raps at the door: 'Mr. Jobson, is my 
mamma's slipper done?' *No, miss, it's not 
done ; but if you'll call in half-an-hour it shall 
be well done, for I've taken the soles off and 
put the upper leathers in a pail to soak.' 
'What, in a pail?' 'Yes, my dear, without 
fail.' ' Then you won't disappint' • No, my 
dear, I'd sooner a pot than a pint' ' Then I 
may depend?' 'Yes, and you won't have it' 
He says this aside, so the girl don't hear him. 
Then Jobson begins to sing again. He comes 
in froui and works. You see his lapstone and 
the hammer going. He begins to sing : 

' Tother morning for broakfiMt on baoon and spin- 

nag«. 
Says I to my wife, ' I'm going to Greenwich ;' 
Says she, ' Dicky Hall, then 111 go too I ' 
Says I, ' BiiB. Hall, VM be dished if you do. 
Hi down, hi deny down.' 

** Then the little girl comes in again to 
know if the slipper is done, and as it isn't it's 
' My dear, you must go without it' Then 
she gets impertinent, and says, ' I shan't go 
with it, you nasty old waxy, waxy, waxy, waxy, 
waxy ! Oh, you nasty old ball of bristles and 
bunch of wax ! ' Then he tries to hit her, and 
she runs into the house, and as soon as he's 
at work she comes out again : * Ah, you 
nasty cobbler ! who's got a lump of wax on his 
breeches ? who sold his wife's shirt to buy a 
ha'porth of gin ? Then the cobbler is regu- 
larly vexed, and he tries to coax her into Uie 
staU to larmp her. 'Here, my dear, hero's a 



76 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



lump of pudden and a farden.' ' Oh, yes, yon 
nasty old cobbler! you only want to give me 
a lump of pudden on mv back.' * Here's a 
penny, my dear, if you'll fetch it,' 'Chuck 
it here, and 111 fetch it' At last she goes 
into the stall, and she gets a hiding with the 
hammer. She cries out, *You nasty old 
cobbler waxy ! waxy, waxy ! Ill go and tell my 
mother all about it* That's what we cuU 
the aggriwating scene; and next comes the 
passionate scene. 

** He begins singing one of his songs. He 
thinks he's all right now he's got rid of the 
girl. 

** Then comes in the old lady, shaking with 
rage. * How dare you to strike my child in 
this here kind of a manner ! Come out of Uie 
stall, or m pull you out neck and crop ! ' 
Then Jobson is in a funk, and expects a 
hiding. ' Oh, mum ! Fm very sorry, but your 
child said, I skinned a cat for ninepence, and 
called me cobbler waxpr, waxy, waxy.' * I won't 
believe a word of it, Mr. Jobson.' ' Yos, mum, 
your child's very insaultang.' * How daro you 
strike the chick ? You nasty old villain ! Ill 
tear the eyes out of you.' 

" A fight then commences between theta, 
and the old lady gets the worst of it. Then 
they moke it up, and theyll have some gin. 

* rU be a penny to your tlu^epence,' says the 
cobbler; and th6 old lady says, * Oh, I can 
always treat myself.* Then tliere's another 
fight, for there's two fights in it. The old 
lady gets the worst of it, and runs into the 
cottage, and then old Jobson cries, * I'd better 
be otf^ stall and all, for fear she should come 
back with the kitchen poker.' That finishes 
up the scene, don't you see, for ho carries oflT 
the stall with him. 

** Cobbler Jobson is up to the door, I think. 
It's first mte; it only wants elaborating. * Billy 
Button' is a very laughable thing, and equally 
up to the door. There's another piece, called 

* Billy Waters, the celebrated London Beggar; ' 
and that's a great lilt. There's the ' Bull- 
baiting.' That's all the scenes I know of. I 
believe I am the only man that knows the 
words all through. * Kitty biling the pot' 
is one of the most beautifullest scenes in the 
world. It wants expounding, you know ; for 
you could open it the whole length of the 
theatre. I wanted to take Ramsgate Theatre, 
and do it there ; but they wanted 2/. a-night, 
and that was too much for me. I should 
have put a sheet up, and acted it with real 
figures, as large as life. 

*• When I was down at Brighton, acting 
with the Chinese galantee show, I was forced 
to drop performing of them. Oh dear! oh 
dear! don't mention it You'd have thought 
the town was on fire. You never saw such 
an uproar as it made ; put the town in such 
an agitation, that the town authorities forced 
me to desist I filled the whole of North- 
street, and the people was pressing upon me 
so, that I was obliged to ran away. I was 



lodging at the Clarence Hotel in North-street, 
at the time. I rail off down a side-street 
The next day the police oome up to me and 
tell me that I mustn't exhiUt that ]>6iform- 
ance again. 

*' I shall calculate it at 5«. a-night, when I 
exhibit with the ombres. We don't go out 
every night for ifs according to the weather; 
but when wo do, the calculation is 5». eveiy 
night. Sometimes it is 10«., or it may be only 
'U, Od; but 5f. is a fair balanee. Take it 
all the year round, it would come to Oj. 
a-week, taking the good weather in the bad. 
It's no use to exaggerate, for the shoe is sore 
to pinch somewhere if you do. 

'* We go out two men together, one to play 
the pipes and speak the parts, and the other 
to work the figures. I always do the speaking 
and the music, for tliat's what is the most par- 
ticular. >Vhen we do a jhill performance, such 
as at juvenile parties, it takes one about one 
hour and a quarter. For attending parties 
we generally gets a pound, and, perhaps, we 
may get three or four during the Christmas 
holiday-time, or perhaps a dozen, for it's ac- 
cording to the recommendation from one to 
another. If you goes to a gentleman's hoose, 
it's according to whether you behave yourself 
in a superior sort of a manner; but if you 
have any vulgarity about you you must exannt, 
and there's no recommendation. 

" Tom Paris, the first man that brought out 
the ombres in tlie streets, was a short stout 
man, and very old. He kept at it for four or 
five J ears, I beUeve, and he made a very com- 
fortable li>'iiig at it, but ho died poor ; what 
became of him I do not know. Jim Macklin 
I've very little knowledge of. He was a stage 
performer, but I'm not aware what ho did 
do. I don't know when he died, but he's 
dead and gone ; all the old school is dead 
and gone — all the old ancient performers. 
Paul Herring is the only one that's alive now, 
and he does the down. He's a capital clown 
for tricks ; he works his own tricks : that's 
the beauty of him. 

" When we are performing of an evening, 
the boys and children will annoy us avrfttl. 
They follow us so that we are obliged to go 
miles to get awuy froni them. They will have 
the best places ; they give each other raps on 
the head if they don't get out of each other's 
way. I'm obliged to get fighting myself, and 
give it them with the drumsticks. Theyll 
throw a stone or two, and then you have to 
run after them, and swear you're going to kill 
them. There's the most boys down at Spital- 
fields, and St Luke's, and at Islington ; that's 
where there's the worst boys, and the most 
audaciousest I dare not go into St. Luke's ; 
they spile their own amusement by maldng 
a noise and disturbance. Quietness is every- 
thing; they haven't the sense to know that 
If they give us any money it's very trifling, 
only, perhaps, a farden or a halfpenny, and 
then it's only one out of a fifty or a htmdred. 



ZONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOE. 



11 



The gn^at bnnness is to keep them quiet. 
No; girU ain't better behaved than bo>*8 ; they 
•nas much was, I'd sooner have fifty boys 
lound me than four girls. The impertioence 
of them is above bearing. They come carry- 
ing babie^ii, and poshing, and crowding, and 
tconug one another to pieces. ' You're albre 
me—I was fast — No you wasn't — Yes I was' — 
aod that's the way they go on. If a big man 
comes in front I'm obliged to ask liim to 
go backwards, to let the little children to see. 
If they're drunk, perhaps they won't, and 
then there's a row, and all tho children will 
j«ia in. Ob, it's dreadful erksome ! 

" I was once performing on Islington-green, 
aotl some drunken people, whilst I was col- 
letting my money, knocked over the concern 
fiom wanton mischief. They said to mo, 
'We haven't seen nothing, master.' I said, 
•lean see yon; and haven't you got a brown?' 
Then they begun laughing, and I tiuiied 
round, and there was the show in a blaze, 
and my mate inside a kicking. I think it was 
tvo or three dnmken men did it, to injure a 
poor man finom gaining his livelihood £i*om 
the sweat of his brow. That's eighteen years 
•go. 

** I was tip at Islington last week, and I 
vu really obliged to give over on accotmt of 
the children. Tho moment I put it down 
there was thousands round me. They was 
MTCT and impertment. There was a good 
eciUection of people, too. But on account of 
the theatrical business we want quiet, aud 
they're so noisy there's no l)eing heard. It's 
monls is ererjthiug. It's shameful how pa- 
Tents lets their children run about the streets. 
As soon as they All ihoir bellies off they are, 
tiU they are hungry again. 

** The higher class of society is those who 
give OS the most money. The working man 
19 good for his penny or halfpenny, but the 
bi^b^r class supports the exhibiticm. The 
siieU« in JUegent-street ain't very good. They 
cooes and looks on for a momeut, and then 
go on, or sometimes they exempt themselves 
with • I'm sorry, but I've got no pence.' Tho 
best is the gentlemen ; I can tell them in a 
■iaute by their tqipearance. 

** When we ore out performing, we in ge- 
neraUy bom three candles at once behind 
the Gortain. One is of no utility, for it wants 
expansion, don't you sec. I don't like naplitha 
or oil-lamps, 'oos we're confined there, aud it's 
very unhealthy. It's very warm as it is, and 
yea most huve a eye like a hawk to watcli it, 
or it won't throw the shadows. A brilliant 
light and a clean sheet is a great attraction, 
md it's the attraction is everything. In the 
coorse of the evening we'll bum six penny 
eaodles ; we generally use the patent one, 'cos 
it tbrovs ft clear light. We cut them in half. 
Vk'hm we use the others I have to keep a 
look^mt, and teU my mate to snuff the can- 
dles when the shadows get dim. I usually 

■Vi* Snuff the eandles!' oat loud, because 



that's a word for the outside and the inside 
too, 'oos it let the company know it isn't all 
over, aud leads them to expect another scene 
or two." 

Exhibitor op Mechanical Figures. 

*' I AM the only man in London — and in 
England, I think — ^who is exhibiting the figuer 
of meehanique ; that is to say, leetle figuers, 
that move their limbs by wheels and springs, 
as if they was de living crotures. I am a 
native of Parma in Italy, where I was bom ; 
that is, you understand, I was bom in the 
Duchy of Pamift, not in the town of Forma — 
in the campagne, where my father is a fanner ; 
not a large fanner, but a little famior, with 
just enough land for living. I used to work 
for my father in his fields. I was married 
when I have 20 years of age, and I have a 
cliild a;?ed U) years. I have only 30 years of 
n^'o, thougli 1 have tho air of 40. Pardon , Mon- 
sieur ! all my friends soy I have tho air of 
40, and you say that to make me pleasure. 

" When I am with my father, I save up all 
the money that I can, for there is very leetlo 
business to be done in the campagnc of Parma, 
and I determine myself to come to Londres, 
where there is affair to be done. I like Londres 
much better than the campagne of Parma, 
because there is so much aflairs to be done. I 
save uj) all my money. I become very econo- 
mique. I live f»f very leetle, and when I havo 
a leetle money, I say adieu to my father and I 
commence my voyages. 

** At Paris I buy a box of music. They ore 
mode at tJenfeve these box of music. When I 
come to Lontlrcs, I go to the public-hoase — 
the palois de gin, you understand — and there 
I show my box of music — yes, musical box you 
call it — and when I get some money I live 
very economiquc, and then when it become 
moire money I buy another machine, which I 
buy in Paris. It was a box of music, and on 
the tf»p it had leetle figuers, which do move 
their eyes and their limbs when I mounts tho 
spring with the key. And then there is music 
inside the box at the some time. I have three 
leetle figuers to this box: one was Jmlith 
cutting the head of the infidel chief — what 
you call him? — Holeferones. She lift her 
arm witli the sword, and she roll her eyes, and 
then the other hand is on his head, which it 
lifts. It does this all the time the music play, 
until I put on another figuer of the soldat 
which mounts the guoni — yes, which is on 
duty. The soldat goes to sleep, and his head 
falls on his bosom. Then he wake aj;ain and 
lift his lance and roll his eyes. Then he goes 
to sleep again, so long until I put on the other 
figuer of the lady with the plate in the hand, 
and she make salutation to the company for to 
ask some money, and she continue to do this 
so long as anybody givo her money. All the 
time the music in the box continues to play. 

** I take a great quantity of money irith these 



78 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



figaers, 3«. a-day, and I live veiy ^conomiqae 
imdl I pat aside a sum large enough to buj 
the flgners which I exhibit now. 

^ Mj most aged child is at Parma, with my 
father in the campagne, but my wife and my 
other child, which has only 18 months of age, 
are with me in Londres. 

" It is two months since I have my new 
figuers. I did have them sent from Germany 
to me. They have cost a great deal of money 
to me ; as much as 85/. without duty. They 
have been made in Gerraanyi and are very 
clever figures. I wiQ show them to you. They 
perform on the round table, which must be 
level or they will not turn round. This is the 
Imp^ratrice of the French — Eugenie — at 
least I call her so, for it is not like her, because 
her cheveleure is not arranged in the style of 
the Imp^atrice. The infants like better to 
see the Imphtttrice than a common lady, that 
is why I caJl her the Imperatrice. She holds 
one arm in the air, and you will see she turns 
round like a person waltzing. The noise you 
hear is from the wheels of the m6chanique, 
which is under her petticoats. You shall notice 
her eyes do move as she waltz. The next 
figure is the carnage of the Emperor of the 
French, with tiie Queen and Prince Albert and 
the King de Sardaigne inside. It will run 
round the table, and Uie horses wHL move as if 
they gallop. It is a very clever mtehaniqne. 
I attache this wire from Uie front wheel to the 
centre of the table, or it would not make the 
round of the table, but it would run off the 
side and break itself. My most clever m^- 
chanique is the elephant It does move its 
trunk, and its tail, and its legs, as if walking, 
and all the time it roll its eyes from side to 
side like a real elephant It is the cleverest 
elephant of m^dianique in the world. The 
leetle Indian on the neck, who is the driver, 
lift his arm, and in the pavilion on the back 
the chieftain of the Indians lift his bow and 
arrow to take aim, and put it down again. 
Thatmtehanique cost me very much money. 
The elephant is worth much more than the 
Imperatrice of the French. I could buy two — 
three — Imperatrice for my elephant I would 
like sooner lose the Imperatrice than any 
malheur arrive to my elephant There are 
plenty more Imperatrice, but the elephant is 
veiy rare. I have also a figuer of Tyrolese 
peasant She go round the table a short dis- 
tance and then turn, like a dancer. I mu^t 
get her repaired. She is so weak in her wheels 
and springs, which wind up under her petticoats, 
like the Imperatrice. She has been cleaned 
twice, and yet her m^chanique is very bad. 
Oh, I have oiled her ; but it is no good, she 
must be taken to pieces. 

*• When I sent to Germany to get these 
mechanique made for me, I told the mechan- 
ician what I desired, and he made them for 
me. I invented the figuers out of my own 
head, and he did the mechanique. I have 
voyaged in Holland, and there I see some 



mechanique, and I noticed them, and then I 
gave the order to do so and so. My elephant 
is the best of my leetle figures ; there is more 
complication. 

*' I first come to England eighteen years a- 
go, before I was married, and I stop here 
seven years ; then I go back again to Parma, 
and then I come back again to England four 
years ago, and here I stop ever since. 

" I exhibit my leetle figiures in the street 
The leetle children like to see my figuers me- 
chanique dance round the table, and the car- 
riage, with the horses which gallop ; but over 
all they like my elephant, with the trunk 
which curls up in front, like those in the 
Jardin des Plantes, or what you call it 
Zoological Gardens. 

♦* When I am in the street I have two men 
beside myself, one plays the organ, and the 
other carry the box with the mechanique fi- 
guers inside, and I carry the table. The box 
with the mechanique is in weight about 80 lbs. 
English, and there are straps at the back for 
the arms to go through. It is as large as a 
chest of drawers, for the leetle figures are 
eighteen inches high, and each has a com- 
partment to itself. I pay my men II. a-month, 
besides lodge, clean, and grub him. 

" The organ for the music is mine. I have 
another organ, with a horse to draw it, which 
I want to sell; for the horse, and ihe two 
men to play it, destroy all the profits. 

" When I make my figuers to play in the 
street I must make the table levd, for they 
will not mount up a hill, because the mecha- 
nique is not sufficiently strong for that I go 
to the West-end to show my leetle figures to 
the genUemans and ladies, and their flunilies ; 
and I go to the East-end to the families of tho 
work-people. I also go to Bzixton and Hox- 
ton, where they are severe for religion. They 
like my figures because they are moral, and 
their children can see them without sinning. 
But everywhere my figures have much suc- 
cess. Of all the places, I prefer, rather, Re« 
gent-street, and there I go to the leetle streets, 
in the comers, close by the big street If I 
calcule how much money I receive for all 
the year, — but I have only had them two 
months, — it is six shillings by day regularly. 
Sometime I take ten shillings, and some* 
times four shillings, but it settles itself to six 
shillings a-day. After paying for my men, and 
to clean, lodge, and grub them, I have three 
shillings for myself. 

" In wet weather, when it makes rain, or 
when thero is fog, I cannot quit my house to 
show my figures, for the humidity attack the 
springs and wheels of the mechanique : be- 
sides, when it falls rain the dresses of my 
figuers are spoiled ; and the robes of the Im- 
peratrice and the Tyrolese peasant are of 
silk and velvet bodies, with spangles, and 
they soon spoil. They cost me much money 
to repair their springs, — never less than eight 
shillings for each time : my peasant has beex> 




STBEET TELESCOPE EXHIBITOK. 

[Fnm a PhdograpK.} 



LOyDOy LABOUR AND TJTE LONDON POOM. 



70 



•mnged twiee in her ajirings. It ttas a watoh- 
inftk<»r who arranged her, and he had to take 
oU lier inside out ; and yon know what those 
kind of pe^lo charge for their time. 

•• Somi^times, when I am out with my fi- 
(■ners, the ladies ask me to perform my iipruers 
before their windows, to show them to their 
/aniilies. The leetle children look throuprh 
rhe window, and then they cannot hear the 
movemont of the mechaniquc, and the ti^^ers 
Ifiok like living. AVhen the organ pluy a 
valtz to the Imperatrice, he has to turn the 
banUe quick at the commencement, wlien tho 
!^nicr is strong in the meclianique, find slu.^ 
tnm quick ; and to make the music slow when 
she turn less often, when the spring get weak 
« the end. This makes it have the look of 
being true to one living,^ as if she danced to 
the music, although the organ play to her 
dancing. I always mount the Bgures with 
ihe key myself. 

*• I have never performed to a school of young 
schrilrirs, but I have visited evening-parties of 
children with my m^chanique. For that tliey 
frive me sometimes 8*., sometimes 10»., just as 
they are generous. My mcchanique require 
nearly one hour to see them to perfection. 
The imperatrice of the French is what they 
admire more than the paysanne of Tyrol. The 
dn.'^s of the Imperatrice has a long white veil 
iiehin<l her hairs, but her costume is not so 
st.'ignre as the peasant's, for she has no 
spaiiirles ; but they like to see tlie Imperatrice 
oi the French, and they excuse her toilet be- 
crtuse slie is noble. My elephant is the greatest 
(Ir'ji/ht for them, because it is more compli- 
cated in its mechanique. I have always to 
mount with the key the springs in its inside 
at I<«ast three times before they are fatigued 
with admiring it. 

** I never perform in the streets during the 
T\\q\\t, because the eir is damp, and it causes 
injares to my mechauique ; besides, I must 
have lights to show off the costume of my 
fismers, and my table is not large enough. 

*• It is not only the leetle children tiat ad- 
mire my mechauique, but pci-sons of a ripe 
i2ti. I often have gentlemen nnd ladies stand 
r'»m»d my table, and tlu-y say * Very clever ! * to 
see the lady flguors valtz, but pbove all when 
TUT elephant lift his trunk. The leetle children 
viil follow me a long way to see my figuers, 
for they know we cannot carry the box far 
without exhibiting, on account of its weight. 
Bni my table is too hicfh for them, unless they 
are at a distance to see tlie figuers perform. If 
my table was not 'high, the leetle children 
Tfoold want to take hold of my figuers. I 
always cany a small stick with me ; and when 
the leetle children, who are being carried by 
ether leetle children, put their hand to my 
ftsnen, I touch them with stick, not for to hurt 
ihem, but to make them take their hand away 
uid prevent them from doing hurt to my 
luechaniqne. 

''When tho costume of my Imperatrice is 



destroyed by tims and wear, my wife xnalies 
new clothes for her. Yes, as you say, she is 
the dress-maker of the ImpeniUice of the 
French, but it is not the EmpeiH>r who pays 
the bill, but myself. The Iraptratrice— the 
one I have, not that of tho Emperor— <ioes not 
wjmt more than half a yard of silk for a petti- 
coat. In the present style of fashion I make 
her petticoat very large and fUll, not for the 
style, but to hido the mcchanifiue in her in- 
side." 

The Trlbscope Exhibitor. 

" It must bo aboat eight years since I first 
exhibit^>d the telescope. I have three tele- 
scopes now, and their powers vary firom about 
36 to 300. The instruments of the higher 
power are seldom used in the streets, because 
the velocity of tlie planets is so great that 
they almost escapt? the eye before it can fix it. 
The opening is so very small, that though 
I can pass my eye on a star in a minute, an 
ordiiiarj' observer would have the orb pass 
away before he could accustom his eye to the 
in««trument. High power is all very well for 
si^parating stars, nnd so forth ; but I'm like 
Dr. Kitchener, I prefer a low power for street 
ptirposes. A street-passer likes to se<' plenty 
of margin n»und a star. If it fills \\\i tho 
opj'ning he don't like it. 

" My business is a tailor. I follow that 
business now. The exhibiting don't interfere 
with my trade. I work by day at tailoring, 
and thru, at this tim<»i of the year (ilHth Oct. 
ISriO), I go out with tho instrument about six 
o'clock. You see I can, with a low powrr, 
see Jupiter rise. It is visi)»le at about half- 
past five, but it gets above the horizon, out of 
the smoke, about a quarter past six. Saturn 
rises about ten. 

" From a boy I was fond of philosophical 
instruments. I was left an orphan when I was 
ten years of afje ; indeed, I haven't a relation 
in the world that I'm aware of, only excepting 
my wife's family. My mother died the same 
year as the Princes Charlotte (1818) for I can 
remember her being in mourning for Iht. 
My name is a very peculiar one — ^it is Tregent. 
This will show yt)u that it is. I some time 
ago advertised an instrument for sale, and I 
had a letter ftT»m gentleman li^-ing in Liver- 
pool. He said that he was sitting down to 
lunch and he took up the paper, and cried 
out, ' Oood God ! here's my name.' He sent 
for paper and i)ens and wrote off at once. He 
asked whether I was a relation of Tregent, 
the great chronometer maker. He said he 
always thought he was the only Tregent in 
England. He said he was a bachelor, and 
hoped I was too.* Perhaps he wanted the 
name to die out. His father, he told me, 
kept a paper-mill. We corresponded a long 
time, till I was tired, and then one day a fViend 
of mine said, * liet me write to him, and I'll 
tell him that if he wants any more informa- 
ation he must pay your expenses down to 



eo 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



liyerpool, and youll pay him a yisit This 
letter was sent, and by and by comes an 
answer, telling me that I was no gentleman 
to make such a proposition, and then the 
matter dropped. 

^ When I was six years old I was brought 
up to tailoring. 1 was kept very close to 
work — always on the board, working. I even 
took my meals there. I don't consider it 
was hard, for it was done for my own benefit. 
If there was no work going on I used to be 
made to learn verses out of the Bible. I 
highly respected my master, for I consider 
this was done for my benefit. He died in 
the country, and I was sorry for it ; for if I 
hiffiL known it, I would have gone anywhere 
to see him buried — ay, even if it had been a 
hundred miles oflf. I stopped with this party 
till I was ten years old. 

" The next party I was with I was 'prenticed 
to, but he failed when I had been with him 
tfajree or four years, and then I had more the 
keeping of him than he of me ; I had that 
resolve in me even at that young age. 

'* After I finished my 'prentice articles I 
went with my society card on the tramp. I 
went all through Yorkshire, going to the 
tailors' houses of call, where the dubs are 
held, and a certain sum of money subscribed 
weekly, to relieve what are called tramps. In 
some towns I worked for months — such as 
Leeds. What is called * a tramp ' by tailors, 
means a man searching for work about the 
country. After I got back to London I went 
to my trade again, and I was particularly 
fortunate in getting good situations. When- 
ever I was out of work I'd start off to the 
country again. I was three years in Brighton, 
doing well, and I had six men under me. 

" It's about eight years ago that I first 
exhibited in the streets. It was through a 
Mend of mine that I did this. Me and my 
wife was at Oreenwich-hill one Sunday. I 
was looking through a pocket-telescope of 
mine, and he says, ' Look through mine.' I 
did so, and it was a very good one ; and then 
he says, *• Ah, you should see one I've got 
at home ; it's an astronomical one, and this 
is terrestrial.' I did so, and went and saw 
it. The first planet I saw was Venus. She 
was in her horns then, like the moon. 
She exhibits the same phases as the moon, 
as does also Mercury; sometimes horns, 
sometimes half a sphere, and so on; but 
they're the only two planets that's known 
that does so. When I saw this, I said, ' Well, 
I must have something of this sort' I went 
to a telescope^maker up at Islington, and I 
made a bargain with him, and he was to make 
me a day-and-night telescope for five suits of 
clothes. Well, I bought the doth, and raised 
all the money to complete my part of the 
contract, and then, when the telescope was 

finished, it wasnt worth a d . You might 

as well have looked through a blacking-botde. 
When I told him of it he said he couldn't 



help it It was worth something to look aV 
but not to look through. I pawned it for 151. 
and sold the ticket for 5/. The gentleman who 
bought it was highly satisfied with it till he 
found it out I took this one out in the 
streets to exhibit with, but it was quite use- 
less, and showed nothing ; you could see the 
planetary bodies, but it defined nothing. The 
stars was all manner of colours and forics. 
The bodies look just like a drawing in chalk 
smudged out The people who looked through 
complained, and wouldn't come and look again, 
and that's why I got rid of it 

" The next telescope I had made was by the 
manufacturer who made the one my friend 
first showed me. That maker has taken some 
hundred of pounds of me since then ; indeed, 
I*ve had deven five or six feet telescopes of him, 
and his name is' Mr. Mull« of 13 Albion-place, 
Clerkenwdl, and the value of each of the 
object-glasses was, on the average, 30/., though 
he charged mo only trade-price, so I got them 
for less. 

" The first telescope that was of any good 
that I exhibited with in the streets was worth 
to me 26/. If you was to go to DoUond he 
would have charged 103/. on a common tripod 
stand. I had it done under my own direc- 
tion, and by working myself at it, I got it very 
cheap. It wasn't good enough for me, so I 
got rid of it I've got so mce about object 
glasses and their distinct vision, and the power 
Uiey bear, that I have never rested content 
until I have a telescope that would suit ih^ 
first astronomer. 

" Tve got one now that will bear a magni- 
fying power 300 times, and has an object-glass 
4} inches diameter, with a focal length of 
5 feet 6 inches. The stand is made of about 
250 pieces of brass-work, and has ratchet 
action, with vertical and horizontal move- 
ment. It cost me 80/. and Ross, Featherstone- 
buildings, would charge 250/. for it I'm so ini- 
tiated into the sort of thing, that I generally 
get all my patterns made, and then I get the 
castings made, and then have them x>oli8hed. 
The price of the object-glass is 30/. I'm 
going to take that one out next week. It will 
weigh about 1| cwt. My present one is a 
very fine instrument indeed. I've nothing but 
what is excellent You can see Jupiter and 
his sateUites, and Saturn and his bdt This 
is a test for it Supposing I want to see 
Polaris — that's the smaU star that revolves 
once in 180 years round the pole. It isn't 
the pole star. It isn't visible to the naked 
eye. It's one of the tests for a tdescope. My 
instrument gives it as small as a pin's point 
There's no magnifying power with a telescope 
upon stars. Of course they make them more 
brilliant, and give some that are not visible to 
the naked eye, for hundreds and thousands will 
pass through the field in about an hour. They 
also separate double stars, and penetrate into 
space, nebula, and so on ; but they don't increase 
the size of stars, for the distance is too great 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



HI 



^^IVe woriMd about five years with this 
kat one tluit Pve now. It weighs, with the 
btand, about 1 cwt, and I have to get some- 
body to help me along with it One of my 
boys in general goes along with mc. 

*" It depends greatly upon the weather as 
to what business I do. I've known the moon 
for a month not to be yisible for twenty days 
oat of the lunation. I've known that for three 
moons together, the atmosphere is so bad 
in London. When I do get a good night 
I have taken 3tVs. ; but then I've taken out 
two instruments, and my boy has minded 
ooe. I only charge a penny a pec-p. Satur- 
dsTs, and Mondays, and Sundays, are the 
best nights in my neighbourhood, and tlien I 
can mostly reckon on taking 20«. The other 
nights it may be 7s. or 8s., or even only 2j. ijd, 
S<imetimes I put up the instrument when it's 
vviy ftne, and then it'll como cloudy, and I 
have to take it down again and go home. 
Taking the year round, I should think I make 
lay. a-year by the telescope. You see my 
buHine^i, as a tailor, keeps me in of a day, or 
I might {JTO out in the day and show the sun. 
Nr»w to-day the sun was very fine, and the 
spots showed remarkably well, and if I'd been 
oat I might have done well. I sold an in- 
strument of mine once to a fireman who had 
nothing to do in the day, and thought he 
could make some money exhibiting the tele- 
scope. He made 8«. or lOs. of an afternoon 
on Blackfriar's-bridge, showing the dome of 
Su Paul's at the time they were repairing it. 

** When the instrument is equatoreally 
mounted and set to time, you can pick out 
the stars in the day-time, and they look like 
Uack specs. I could show them. 

** People can't stop looking through the 
telescope for long at a time, because the 
object IS soon out of the field, because of the 
Vflocity of the earth's motion and the rapidity 
at which the planets travel round the sun. 
Jnpitcr, for instance, 2(5,000 n^esan hour, and 
Sat am 29,000, soon removes tliem from the 
flelil of tlie telescope. I have to adjust the 
telescope before each person looks Uirough. 
It has, I fancy, hurt my eyes very much. My 
eyesight has got very weak through looking 
at the moon, for on a brilliant night it's like a 
plate of silver, and dazzles. It makes a great 
impression on the retina of the eye. I've 
Ken when looking through the telescope a 
Uack sx>ec, just as if you had dropped a blot of 
ink on a piece of paper. I've often had 
dancing lights before my eyes, too— very often. 
I find a homceopathic globule of belladonna 
Tny excellent for that 

** When I exhibit, I in general give a short 
lecture ^whilst they are looking through. 
When I* am not busy I make them give me a 
description, for this reason : others are listen- 
ing, and they would sooner take the word of 
the observer than mine. Suppose I'm ex- 
hibiting Jupiter, and I want to draw cus- 
tomers^ I'll say, ' How many moons do you see? ' 



They'll answer, ' Three on the right, and one on 
the left,' as they may be at that time. Periiaps 
a rough standing by will say, ' Three moons ! 
that's a lie ! there's only one, everybody 
knows.' Then, when they hear the observer 
state what lie sees, they'll want to have a peep. 

" When I'm busy, I do a lecture like this. 
We'll suppose I'm exhibiting Saturn. Perhaps 
wo had better begin with Jupiter, for the orbit 
of Saturn's satellites is so extensive that you 
can never see them all without shifting the 
glass : indeed it's only in very fine climates, 
such as Cincinnati, where the eight may be 
observed, and indeed up to a late period it was 
believed there were only seven. 

" When the observer sees Jupiter, I begin : 
* Do you see the planet, sir? * Yes,' * I intro- 
duce to you Jupiter with all his four satellites. 
It is distant 600 millions of miles irom the 
sun, and its diameter is about 7000 miles. It 
travels round the sun at about 27,000 miles an 
hour, and its orbit is over four years, and of 
course its seasons are four times the length of 
oiurs, the summer lasting for a year instead of 
three months.' One night an Irishman, who 
was quite the gentleman, came to me rather 
groggy» *nd he says, — ' Old boy, what are you 
looMng at?* * Jupiter,' says I. 'What's that?* 
says he. ' A planet you may call it, sir.' says 
I ; *and the price is one penny.' He paid me 
and had a look, and then ho cries out, * What 

a deception is this! By J it's a moon, and 

you cidl it a star ! ' ' There are four moons,' 
said I. ' You're another,' said he ; * there's a 
moon and four stars. You ought to be took 
up for deception.' After a time ho had 
another look, and then he was very pleased, 
and would bring out gin from, a neighbouring 
public-house, and if he brought one, he 
brought seven. 

** Another time, a man was looking through; 
and I had a tripod stand then, and one of tho 
legs was out, and he pushed the tube and 
down it came right in his eye. He gave a 
scream and shouted out, ' My God ! there's a 
star hit me slap in the eye I ' 

** Another night an old woman came up to 
me, and she says, ' God bless ^ou, sir ; I'm so 
glad to see you. I've been lookmg for you ever 
such a time. You charge a penny, don't you? 
I'm a charwoman, sir, and would you believe 
it, I've never had a penny to spare. What are 
you looking at ? The moon ? Well, I must 
see it' I told her she should see it for 
nothing, and up she mounted the steps. She 
was a heavy lusty woman, and I had to shove 
her up with my shoulder to get up the steps. 
When she saw the moon she kept on saying, 
'Oh, that's beautiful! well, it is beautiftd! 
And that's the moon, is it? Now, do tell me 
all about it' I told her all about Mount 
Tycho, and about the light of the sun being 
seen on the mountain tops, and so on. When 
she'd looked for a time, she said, * WeU, your 
instrument is a finer one than my masters, 
but it don't show so much as his, for he says 



62 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON fOOM* 



he can see the men fighting in iC This made 
me Uugh so, I veiy nearly let her tumble by 
taking my ehonlder away from mider her. 
But when she came down the steps, she said 
something quits moved me. She threw her 
hands up and eried, ' If this moon is so bean- 
tiftil ana woaderfol, what must that God be 
like who made it ? ' And off she went. It was 
yezy fine, waan't it? 

'* Sometimes when I'm exhibiting there is 
quite a crowd eoUeets. I've seen them 
sitting down on the curb smoking and drinking, 
whilst they are waiting for their turns to have 
a peep. They'll send to the public-house for 
beer, and then they'll stop for hours. Indeed, 
I'tc had my business quite interfered with by 
the mob, for they don't go away after having 
their look. I seldom stop out sdfter X^ o'clock 
at night. 

" Sometimes when I have been exhibiting, 
the parties have ssid it was all nonsense and 
adcccption^ for the stars was pointed on 
the gloHs. If the party has been anything 
agreeable, I've taken the trouble to persuade| 
him. I've, for instance, placed tlie star on the 
very edge of the glass, and then they've 
seen it travel right across the field ; and as I've 
told them, if it was painted it couldn't move 
and disappear from the lens. 

^ Most of tlie spectators go away quite sur- 
prised and impressed ^Hth what they have 
seen. Some will thank me a dozen times over. 
Some will say, * Well, my penny is well laid 
out I shouldn't have credited it with my own 
eyes.' Others, but there are very few of them, 
won't believe wlien they have looked. Some, 
when I can see the moon on their eye as they 
look in, swear Uiey don't see it. Those I let 
go on and don't take their money, for the 
penny is no object. When I tell the people 
what the wonders of the heavens are, and how 
each of these planets is a world, tJicy go away 
wonderfully grateful and impresse^l. 

*'I went down to PortKmouth with my 
telescope at the time thb fleet sailed under Sir 
Charles Napier, and the Queen led them out 
in her yuclit. I took a great deal of money 
tlicre. X didn't exhibit in the day-time: I 
didn't trouble myself. I took two guineas 
showing the yacht the day she sailed, and at 
night with the moon. The other ni^ts, with 
the moon and planets only, I took from 12«. to 
14«. I refoscd 1&«. for one hour, for this 
reason. A lady sent her Ber>'ant to ask me to 
go to her house, and my price is one guinea 
for to go out, whether for an hour, or two, or 
three ; but she first oiEered me I0«., and then 
the next night Vbs. Then I found I should 
have to carry my instrument, weighing one 
cwt., two miles into the county', and up hill all 
the way ; so, as I was sure of taldng more than 
10«. where I was, I wouldn't for an extra 
shilling give myself the labour. I took I2f . M. 
as it was. At Portsmouth a couple of sailors 
came up, and one had a look, and the other 
said * What is there to see ? ' X told him the 



moon, and he asked the prioe. When I said 
*• One penny,' he says, * X vnt got a penny, but 
hare's three hali^enoe, if that's the same to 
you ; ' and he gives it, and when X expected he 
was about to peep, he turns round and siqrs, 
' I'll be smothereid if I'm going to look down 
that gallows long chimney I YoaVe got your 
money, and that's all your business.' So you see 
there are some people who are quite iudiflBBient 
to sdentifio exhibitions. 

** There are, to the best of my knowledge, 
about four men besides myself^ going about 
with telescopes. X dont know of any more. 
Of Uiese there's only one of any account. 
I've seen through them all, so I may safely s^y 
it. I consider mine the best in London ex- 
hibiting. Mine is a very expensive instrument. 
Everything depends upon the object-glass. 
There's glasses on some which have been 
thrown aodo as valueless, and may have been 
bouglit fbr two or tlireo pounds. 

'* The capital required to start a telescope in 
the streets nil depends upon the quantity of 
the object-glass, from 3/. to 00/. for the ol^jeoU 
glass alone. 

** Nobody, who is not seqiiainted with 
telescopes, knows the value of object-glasses. 
I've known this offer to be made — that the 
'object-glass should be placed in one seals 
and gold in the other to weigh it down, and 
then they wouldn't. The rough glass from 
Birmingliam ^before it is worked — only 
12 inches in diameter, will cost 06/. Ghonoe, 
at Birmingham, is the principal maker of the 
crown and flint fbr optical purposes. The 
Swiss used formerly to be the only makers of 
optical metal of any account, and now Bir- 
mingham has knocked them out of the field : 
indeed tliey have got the Swiss woridng for 
them at Chance's. 

"You may take a couple of plates of the 
rough glass to persons ignorant of their value, 
and they are only twelve inches in diameter, 
and he would tl^ink one shilling dear fbr them, 
for they only look like the bits you see in the 
streets to let hght through the pavement. 
These glasses are half flint and half crown, the 
flint for the concave, and the crown fbr the con- 
vex side. Their beauty consists in their being 
pure metal and quite transparent, and not 
stringy. Under the high magnifying power 
we use you see this directly, and it makes the 
object smudgy and distorts the vision. 

*' After getting the rough metal it takes 
years to fimsh tlie olject-glass. Thoy polish 
it with satin and putty. The c<»vex has to be 
done so correctly, that if the lens is the 
lOOth part of an inch out its value is destroyed. 

**The well-known object-glass which was 
shown in the Great Exhibition of 1851, was in 
Mr. Boss's hands (of Featherstone-buildings, 
Holbom,) for four years befbrs it was finished. 
It was very good, and done him great credit. 
He is supposed to have lost by the job, for the 
price is all eat up by wages pretty near. 

" The observatory on Wandsworth-oommon 



LOSLON LABOUR AXD THE LOXDON POOR. 



83 



is a complete fiBdliire, owing to the object-glass 
being A bed one. It belongs to tlie Kev. Mr. 
Czagg. The tube is 72 feet long, I believe, 
and shaped like a dgar, bulging at the sides. 
He wanted to have a new object-glass put in, 
and what do yoa think they asked him at 
Binnisgham for the rough metal alone? — 
2Q0QLI It id 24 inches in diameter. Mr. 
Sots asks 6000/., I was told, to make a now 
one — finished for him. 

" The making of objeet-glas.<)e9 is dreadfVil 
and tedious labour. Men havo been known 
to go and throw their heads under waggon 
wheelst and have them smashed, from being 
DBgida]^ worn out with working an object- 
^flos, and not being able to get the convex 
light. I was told by a party that one object- 
l^ass was in hand for 14 years. 

** The night of the eclipse of the moon, (the 
13th October, 1850,) when it was so well seen 
in London, I took 1/. Id. at Id. each. I 
night as well have took 21. by charging 2d.y 
bat being so well known then 1 didL't moke 
no extra charge. They were forty deep, for 
eveiybody wished to see. I had to put two 
lads under the stand to prevent their being 
trod to death. They had to stay there for two 
houra before they could get a peep, and bo 
indeed had many others to do the same. A 
fiiend of mine lUdn't look at all, for I couldn't 
get him near. They kept calling to the one 
wAing through the tube, ' Now, tlien, make 



you there.' They nearly fought for 
their turns. They got pushing and fight- 
ing, one cxying, * I was first,' and, * Now it's 
my torn.* I was glad when it was over, I can 
aaaue you. The buttons to my braces were 
dn^ed off my bock by the pressure behind, 
and! had to hold up my breeches with my 
hand. The eclipse lasted firom 21 minutes 
past to 25 minutes past 13, and in that time 
247 persons hod a peep. The police were 
then to keep order, but they didn't interfere 
with me. They are generally very good to 
me, and they seem toUiink that my exhibition 
improrres the minds of the public, and so pro- 
tect me. 

*■ When I went to Portsmouth, I applied to 
Mr. Uyera the goldsmith, a very opulent and 
zieh man there, and chairman of the Espla- 
nade Committee at Southsea, and he instantly 
pve me pexmission to place my stand there. 
Likewise the mayor and magistrates of Ports- 
Aoathf to exhibit in the streets." 

EXHZBITOB OF THB MiCBOSCOFE. 

" I T-rT^TPr»* with a microscope that I wouldn't 
take fifty guineas for, because it suits my pur- 
pQtt, and it is of the finest quality. I earn 
ay living with it. If I were to sell it, it 
wonldn^t fetch more than 15^ It was presented 
tome by n^ dear sister, who went to America 
and died there. I'll show you that it is a 
TalnaUe instrument. I'll tell you that one of 
the best lens-makers in the trade looked 



through it, and so he said, ' I think I con im- 
prove it for you ;' and he made me a present of 
a lens, of extreme high power, and the largest 
aperture of Diagnilying power that has ever 
been exhibited. I didnt know him at the 
time. He did it by kindness. Ho said, after 
looking through, * It's very good for what it 
professes, but I'll make you a present of a lens 
made out of the best Swiss metal.' And he 
did so from the interest he felt in seeing such 
kinds of exhibitions in the streets. With the 
glass he gave me I can see oheese-mites as 
distinctly as possible, with their eight legs and 
transparent bodies, and heads shai>ed like a 
hedgehog's. I see their jaw moving as they eat 
their food, and can see them lay their eggs, 
which are as perfect as any fowl's, but of a 
bright bUie colour ; and I can also see them 
perform the duties of nature. I cnn also see 
them carr>' their youn^ on their bocks, showing 
that they have afiection for their ol&pring. 
They lay their eggs through their ribs, and 
you can tell when they are going to lay for 
tliere is a bulging out just by the hips. They 
don't sit on their eggs, but they roll them 
about in action till they bring forth their ob- 
ject. A million of these mites can walk across 
a flea's bock, for by Lanlner's micrometer the 
surface of a flea's back measures ^4 inches fVom 
the proboscis to the iwstcrior. The micrometer 
is an instrument used for determining micro- 
I scopic power, and it is all graduated to a scale. 
By Lanlner's micrometer the mite looks about 
the size of a large black-beetle, and then it is 
magnified 100,000 times. This will give yoa 
some idea of the powor and value of my in- 
strument. Three hundred gentlemen have 
\iewed through it in one week, and each one 
delighti'd ; so much so, that many have given 
double the money I have asked (which was a 
penny), suc% was the satisfaction my instru- 
ment gave. 

" ^ly father was a minister and local 
preacher in the Wesleyan Methodists. He 
died, poor fellow, at 27 years of age, therefore 
I never had an opportunity of knowing him. 
Ho was a boot and shoe maker. Such was the 
talent which he possessed, that, had it not 
been for his being lamed of one foot (from a 
fall off a horse), he would have been made a 
travelling minister. He was a wonderful 
clever man, and begun preaching when he was 
21. Ho was the minister who nreached on the 
occasion of laying the foundation-stone of 
Hoxton Chapel, and he drew thousands of 
people. I was only two years old when he died, 
and my mother was left with five of us to bring 
up. She was a visitor of the sick and thu 
dying for the Strangers* Benevolent Fund, 
and much respected for her labours. After 
my father's death she was enabled to support 
her family of one son and four daughters by 
shoe-binding. She was married twice after my 
father's death, but she married persons of 
quite opposite principles and opinions to her 
own, and slie was not comfortable with them. 



84 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



but left them, and always found shelter under 
her son's roof^ where she died triumphantly 

'* I was apprenticed when I was 13 years of 
age to a shoemaker, who was a profound 
philosopher, and very fond of making experi. 
ments and of lecturing on various branches of 
science. I could produce bills — I have them at 
home— such as that at the Friar's-mount 
Sunday-school, some six or seven years ago, 
where it states that William Knock, minister 
and lecturer, will lecture on zoology and 
natural histoiy. He's about 70 now. Elec- 
tricity is his favourite science. Whilst I was 
his apprentice, he had an observatory built at 
the top of his house in Underwood-street, 
Spitaliields, for the purpose of taking astro- 
nomical observations. My being in his house, 
and seeing him so busy with his instruments, 
gave me a great taste for science. I was his 
assistant when he wont lecturing. I was i^. 
prenticed with him for five years. He was a 
kind and good master, and very affectionate. 
He encouraged mo in my scientific studies, and 
gave me access to his library, which was im- 
mense, and consisted of 3000 volumes. 
Amongst other employment I used to copy 
out sermons for him, and he gave me a penny 
each, which by saving up enabled me to buy a 
wateh of him for 5/. 5«. He was a shoemaker 
and manufacturer of ladies and children's 
boots and shoes, so that he might have made 
from his 2/. to 3/. a-week, for he was not a 
Journeyman, but an employer. 

" Afier I was out of my time I went to Mr. 
Children, a bootmaker of Bethnal-green-road, 
well known in that locality. My master had 
not sufficient employment for me. One night 
this Mr. Children went to hear a lecture on 
astronomy by Dr. Bird, and when he came 
home he was so delighted with what he had 
seen, that he began telling his wife all about 
it. He said, * I cannot better explain to you 
the solar system, than with a mop,' and he 
took the mop and dipped it into a pail of water, 
and began to twirl it round in the air, till the 
wet flew off it Then he said, * This mop is 
the sun, and the spiral motion of the water 
^ves the revolutions of tlie planets in their 
orbits.' Then, after a time, ho criod out, * If 
this Dr. Bird can do this, why shouldn't I?' 
He threw over his business directly, to carry 
out the grand object of his mind. He was 
making from 3/. to 4/. a-week, and his wife 
said, * Robert you're mad ! ' He asked me if I 
knew anything of astronomy, and I said, * Sir, 
my old master was an astronomer and philo- 
sopher.' Then I got books for him, and I 
taught him all I knew of the science of 
astronomy. Then he got a magic-lantern 
with astronomical slides. The bull's-eye was 
six inches in diameter, so they were veiy 
large, so that they gave a fi^^ure of twelve feet 
For the signs of the zodiac he had twelve 
separate small lanterns, with the large one in 
the centre to show the diverging rays of the 



sun's light He began with many difficulties in 
his way, for he was a very illiterate man, and had 
a vast deal to contend with, but he succeeded 
through all. He wrote to his father and got 
500/., which was his share of the property whieh 
would have been left him on his parent's 
death. At his first lecture he made many mi^ 
takes, such as, * Now, gentlemen, I shall pre- 
sent to your notice the amatemation$^' eX whieh 
expression the company cried, * Hear, hear,* 
and one said, * We are all in a constematioQ 
here, for your lamp wants oil.* Yet he faeed 
all this out I was his assistant I taught 
him ever3rthing. When I told him of his mis- 
take he'd say, * Never mind, I'll overcome iJl 
that' He accumulated the vast sum of OOOCK. 
by lecturing, and became a most popular man. 
He educated himself, and became qualified. 
When, he went into the country he had Ardi- 
bishops and Bishops, and the highest of the 
clergy, to give their sanction and become 
patrons of bis lectures. He's now in America, 
and become a great farmer. 

*' After I left Mr. Children, I connected my- 
self with a Young Men's Improvement Meet- 
ing. Previous to that, I had founded a Simdaj- 
school in the New Kent-road. Deverell-street 
Sabbath-schools were founded by me, and I 
was for fourteen years manager of it, as well as 
performer of the funeral service in that place; 
for there was a chapel, and burying, groimd 
and vaults, attached to the schools, nod I be- 
came the officiating minister for the f^eral 
service. Three thousand children have been 
educated at these schools, and for fourteen 
years I lectured to them every Sunday on 
religious subjects. With the tutors and the 
eldest scholars I formed a Young Men's Im- 
provement Meeting. I became the president 
of that meeting, and their lecturer. I leetnved 
on the following subjects, — Natural Hista^Ti 
Electricity, Astronomy, and Phrenology. 

** At this time I was a mnst^r-shoemaker, 
and doing a business of fifty guineas a>week, 
of which ten were profit I built large work- 
shops at the back of my house, which cost ma 
300/. Unfortunately, I lent my name to a 
friend for a very large amount, and became 
involved in his difficidties, and then necesdtj 
compelled me to have recourse to stzeei* 
exhibitions for a living. When I was in 
affluent circumstances I had a libnuy of 300 
volumes, on scientific subjects mostly, and frnm 
them I have gleaned sufficient information to 
qualify me for streetexhibition, and thereby 
enable me to earn more money than mosS 
individuals in such circumstances. 

" I began my street-life with exhibiting a 
telescope, and here is the origin of my dcang 
ao. I had a sister living at the west-end of 
the town who was a professed cook, and I used 
to visit her three times a-week. One night I 
saw a man in the Begent-circus exhibiting a 
telescope. I went up to him, and I said, * Sir. 
what is the object to-night?' And he told 
me it was Jupiter. I was veiy mudi interested 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



80 



tith looking at Jupiter, and I stopped with 
tint man for two hours, conversing with him, 
nd I saw exactly how much he took. Then 
I thought, 'Why shouldn't I da this?' So I 
note to my brother-in-law, and I told him this 
mm was taking at the rate of Id. per minute, 
•nd I offered, if he would provide me with a 
ttilescope, that I should be very happy and 
contented to take half of the receipts as my 
shire, and g^ve him the other for the use of 
his instrument. He did so, and bought a tele- 
leope which cost him 14/. I took up my stand 
OD LoDdon>bridge, and did very well, taking 
on the average 6«. a-night I gave up the 
telescope for this reason, — my brother-in-law 
viB going to America, and was anxious to call 
in aU his money. The telescope was sold, 
tad my sister, the professed cook, fearing 
thit I should be left without a means of living, 
bought for me a microscope out of her own 
etmings, which cost her 0/. She said to me, 
* The microscope is better than the telescope, 
for the nights are so uncertain.' She was 
qmte right, for when the telescopes have been 
idle for three months at a time, I can exhibit 
mj microscope day and night She gave it 
to mo as a mark of her respect. She died in 
America, jast after she arrived. That instru- 
nent has enabled mo to support an afflicted 
nd aged mother, and to biuy her comfortably 
vhen she died. 

** My microscope contains six objects, which 
ire piaced on a wheel at the back, which I 
torn round in succession. The objects are in 
cell-boxes of glass. The objects are all of ^ 
them fiimiliar to the public, and are as fol- 
lows:—!. The flea. 2. The himian hair, or 
the hair of the head. 3. A section of the old 
otk tree. 4. The animalculie in water. 
A. Gheose-mites. And 6. The transverse section 
of eane used by schoolmasters for the coiTec- 
tion of boys. 

" I always take up my stand in the day-time 
in Whitechapel, facing the London Hospital, 
hetoff a laige open space, and favourable 
Cor the solar rays — for I hght up the instru- 
nent by the direct rays of the sun. At night- 
tirae I am mostly to be found on Westminster- 
Indge, and then I light up with the best sperm 
oil ^re is. I am never interfered with by 
the police ; on the contrary, they come and 
have a look, and admire and recommend, such 
ii the interest excited. 

** The first I exhibit is the flea, and I com- 
aeace a short lecture as follows : — * Gentle- 
flMD,' I says, * the first object I have to present 
to jour notice is that of a flea. I wish to direct 
ym attention especially to the head of this 
object Here you may distinctly perceive its 
pmboscis or dart. It is that which perforates 
the cuticle or human skin, after which the 
Uood ascends by suction ih>m our body into 
that of the flea. Thousands of persons in 
Londoo have seen a flea, have felt a flea, but 
bare never yet been able by the hiunan eye to 
dbiover that instrument which made them 



sensible of the flea about their person, 
although they could not catch the old gen- 
tleman. This flea, gentlemen, by Dr. Lard- 
ner s micrometer, measures accurate iU inches 
in length, and 11 across the back. My instru- 
ment, mark you, being of high magnifying 
power, will not show you the whole of the ob- 
ject at on<!e. Mark you, gentlemen, this is not 
the flea of the dog or the cat, but the human 
flea, for each differ in tlieir formation, as clearly 
proved by this powerful instrument. For they 
all dilTor in their form and shape, and will only 
feed upon tlie animal on which they are bred. 
Having shown you the head and shoulders, 
witli its dart, I shall now proceed to show you 
the posterior view of this object, in which you 
may clearly discover everj- artery, vein, muscle 
and ner>-e, exact like a lobster in shape, and 
quite as large as one at '2s, Od,' That pleases 
them, you know; and sometimes I odd, to 
amuse them, *An object of that size would 
make an excellent supper for half-a-dozen per- 
sons.' That pleases tliem. 

" One Irishwoman, after seeing the flea, 
threw up her arms and screamed out, * O 

J ! and I've had hundreds of them in my 

bed at once.' She got me a great many cus- 
tomers from her exclamations. You see, my 
lectm-e entices those Ustening to have a look. 
Many listeners say, * Ain't tliat true, and phi- 
losophical, and correct?" I've had many give 
me Gd. and say, * Never mind the change, your 
lecture is alone worth the money.' 

" I'll now proceed to No. 2. * The next ob- 
ject I have to present to your notice, gentle- 
men, is that of the hair of the human head. 
You perceive that it is nearly as large as yonder 
scaffolding poles of the House of Lords.' I 
say this when I am on Westminster-bridge, 
because it refers to the locality, and is a 
striking figure, and excites the hsteners. * But 
mark you, it is not, like them, solid matter, 
through which no ray of Ught con pass.' That's 
where I please the gentlemen, you know, for 
they say, *How philosophical!' *You can 
readily perceive, mark you, that they are all 
tubes, hke tubes of glass ; a proof of which 
fact you have before you, from the light of the 
lamp shining direct through the body of the 
object, and that light direct portrayed in the 
lens of your eye,called the retina, on which all 
external objects are painted.' 'Beautiful!' 
says a gentleman. * Now, if the hair of the 
head be a hollow tube, as you perceive it is, 
then what caution you ought to exercise when 
you place your head in the hands of tlie hair- 
dresser, by keeping your hat on. or else you 
may be susceptible to catch c^ld ; for that 
which we breathe, the atmosphere, passing 
down these tubes, suddenly shuts to the doors, 
if I may be allowed such an expression, or, in 
other words, closes the pores of the skin and 
thereby checks the msensible perspiration, and 
colds are the result Powdering the head is 
quite out of date now, but if a little was 
used on those occasions referred to, cold in 



60 



LOSDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



the head wonld not he so frequent.' "What 
do yon think of that? I never hod an indi- 
vidual complain of my lecture yet. 

" Now comes No. 3. * This, gentlemen, is 
the brave old oak, a Rection of it not larger 
than the head of a pin. Looking at it through 
thifl powerful instrument, you may acctirately 
perceive millions of perforations, or pores, 
through which the moisture of the earth rises, 
in order to aid its growth. Of all the trees of the 
forest, none is so splendid as the brave old oak. 
This is the tree that braves the battle and 
the breeze, and is said to be in its perfcrtion 
at 100 j-ears. "Who that looks at it would not 
exclaim, in the language of the song, * Wood- 
man, spare that tree, and cut it not down ? ' 
Such is the analogy existing between vegetable 
and animal physiology', that a small portion of 
the cuticle or human skin would present the 
same appearance, for there ore millions of 
pores in the human skin which a groin of 
sand is said to cover ; and here are millions 
of perforations through which the moisture of 
the earth is said to rise to aid the growtli of 
the tree. See the similitude between the 
vegetable and animal physiology. Here is the 
exhibition of nature — see how it surpasses 
that of art. See the ladies at the Great Ex- 
hibition admiring the shawls that came from 
India : yet they, though truly desening, could 
not compare with this bit of bark from the 
brave old ouk. Here is a pattern richer and 
more desening than any on any shawl, how 
ever wonderful. Where is the linondraper in 
this locality that can produce anything so 
beautiful as that on this bit of bark ? Such 
are the works of art as compared with those of 
nature.' 

" No. 4 is the animalculiE in water. * Gen- 
tlemen, the object now before you is a drop of 
water, that may be suspended on a needle's 
point, teeming with miUions of linng objrcts. 
This one drop of water contains mon; inhabit- 
ants than the globe on which I stand. See 
the velocity of their motion, the action of 
their stomachs ! tho vertebraB is elegantly 
marked, like the boa-constrictor in the Zoo- 
logical Gardens. They are all moring with 
perfect ease in this one drop, like the mighty 
monsters of the vast deep.' 

•' On one occasiim a gentleman from St. 
Thomas's Hospital dLspute<l my statement about 
it's being only one drop of water, so I said to the 
gent; * If you will accompany me to some; 
coffee-house tho drop of water shall be re- 
moved, and perhaps what you see you may 
believe/ which he did, and ho paid me 1«. for 
my experiment. He told me he was a doctor, 
and I told him I was surprised thot he wns 
not better acquainted witii tho instrument; ior^ 
said I, * how can you tell the effects of inocu- 
lation on the cuticle, or the disease called the 
itch, unless you arc acquainted with such an 
instrument?' He was quite ashamed as he 
paid me for my trouble. I tell this anecdote 
on the bridge, and I always conclude with, 



' Now, gentlemen, whilst I was paid It. hf 
the faculty for showing one object alone, I am 
only charging you Irf. for the whole six.* Then 
I mldrt'ss myself to the i>erBon looking into 
the microscope, and say, • What do you think 
of this one throp of water, sir ? ' and he says, 

* Splendid !' Then I add, * Few persons would 
pass and re-pass this instrument without 
baring a glance into it, if th«*y knew the won- 
ders I exhibit;' and tlie one looking says, 

* That's true, very true.' 

" The next object is the cheese-mite — No. 5. 
I always begin in this way, — * Those who 
are imocquaintril with tlie study of ento- 
mology declai'e that these mites are beetles, 
and not mites ; but could I procure a beetle 
with eight legs, I should present it to the 
BritLsli Museum as a ciuiosity.* This is the 
way I clench up the mouths of those sceptics 
who would try to ridicule me, by showing that I 
am i>liilosophic. * Just look at thom. Notice, 
for instance, their head, how it represents 
the form of an hedg<3]»og. The bo»ly pre- 
sents that of the beetle shape. They have 
eight legs and eight joints. They have four 
legs fonvard and four legs back ; and they can 
move with the same velocity forwards as they 
can back, such is their construction. They 
are said to be moring with the velocity of five 
hundred steps in one minute. BeadBlair^ 

* l*r«Jceptor,' where you may see a drawing of 
the mite acciuratoly given, as well as read the 
descript-'on just givt?n.' A cheesemonger in 
WhrU.»chapel brouicrht mo a few of these ob- 
jects for me to place in my mici-oscope. He 
inrit<jd liis friends, which were tiking supper 
with him, to come out and have a glan(*e at 
the same objects. He gave me sixjjcnce for 
exhibiting them to him, ond was highly grsd- 
'fied at the sight of them. I asked him bow 
he could have the; impudence to sell them for 
a lady's supi>cr ut lOrf. a-ponnd. The answer 
he gave me was, — * Wliat the pye cannot see 
the heart never grieves.' Then I go on,— 
' Whilst this lady is extending her hand to the 
poor, and doing all the relief in her power, 
she is slaring more liring creatures with her 
jaw-bone than ever Sumson did with his.* If 
it's a boy looking through. I say, ' Now, Jack, 
wlien you are eating broad and cheese don*t 
let it be said that you slay tho mites with the 
jaw-bone of an ass. Cultivate the intellectual 
and moral powers superior to the passions, 
and then you will rise superior to tliat animal 
in intellect.' * Good," saj's a gentleman, • good; 
here's sLxpence for you;' and another savH, 

* Here's twopence for you, and I'm blessed ii* I 
want to see anything after hearing your lecture/ 
Then I continues to point out the oSfTection of the 
mite for its young. * You see fathers looking 
after their (laughters, and mothers after their 
sons, wh«»n they are taking their walks ; and 
such is their love for their young, that when 
the young ones are fatigued with their journey 
the parents take them up on their backs. Do 
you not see it ?• And then some will say, * 111 



I 



LOKDOy LABOUR AND THE LONDOX POOR. 



87 



, life A penny to nee that;' and I'vo Imd four 
poinies put in my bsnd at once to see it. 
£xcitomont is everything in this world, sir. 
*' Next comes the cane — No. G. * The ob- 

, jwt before yon. gentlemen, is a IninsverHO 

I MctioDof cane, — common cane, — Kuch, mark 

I joKL AS is iiKed by Bchoolmabters fur the cor- 
wet'hm of boys who neglect their tasks, or 

■ pliiT ihc wag.' I make it comic, you know. 
* Thi-> I coll die tree of knowledge, for it has 

, diiue uuTm for to learn ns the rules of arith- 
Dciio than all the vegetable kingdom com- 
bintMl. To it we may attribute the rule of 
three, from its influence on the mind,' — 
that always canses a smiln, — 'just look at it 

I lac one moment. Notice, in the !irst ]ilac(>, its 

i putbrations. >Mierc the human hand has 
iail(.d to construct a micromrtter for micro- 
scof'icor telescopic purposes, the spider has 
Init its wli in one case, and tlie cnne in the 

' ochtT. Throut^h the instrumentality of its 
jKTliiriilionR, w^e may accurately infer ih<5 map;- 
nifnu:; jjower of oth(;r objects, slKuving the 
Ihw iif iinnloin-. The perforations of thi> cnni', 
apart frDm this instrument, would lutnlly adinit 
a opcdlo'R point, but seem now lar«?e eiuiu^^'h 
t» yoor arm to enter. This cane somewlint 
npiv-si-ntA a telescopic view of the moon at 
Ifae full, when in conjunction with the sun, 
for in)«t4Uice. Here I could represent in- 
Ttfrted rocks and mountains. You iiiny per- 
ceive them yonrself, just as they would hv re- 

I pttsscnted in the moon's disc through a 
jiowerfnl telescope of 2.^) times, such as I have 

' exbibitt^l to a thousand peraons in St. Paul's 
ChurchyanL On the right of this piece of 
cane, if' you are acquainted witli tlie scienee 
of tt^tronomy, you may dejiicture vctv accu- 
ntely Monnt Tycho, for instance, representing 
abenntiful burning moimtain, like Mount Ve- 
SQTins or Etany, near the fields of Naples. 
Yoo might discover accurately all the divcrg- 
ioj; streaks of hght emanating from the crater. 
Fnxtlior on to the right you may |>erceive 
MooDi St. Catherine, like the blaze of a candle 
raihing through the atmosphere. On the 
left yon may discover Mount Ptolemy. Such 
i* aViniilar' oppearanc^ of the moon's moun- 
tainous aapect. I ask you, if the school-boy had 
bm an opportunity of glancing at so splendid 
an object as the cane, sliould he ever be seen 
to fiherl a tear at its weight ?' 

•* This shows that I am scientific, and know 
tklTDnoniy. The last part makes them hiujrh. 
•* This is the mode in which I exhibit my in- 
tuument, and such is the interest been excited 
in the puhhc mind, tliat though a ])enny is 
the small charge which I make, th:>t amount 
bis l»een doubled and trebled by gentlemen 
vfao have viewed the instrument ; and on on<i 
occaaion a clergyman in the Gommcrcial-road 
presented me with holf-a-sovereign, for the 
interest he felt at my description, as well as 
tlie objects presented to his view. It has 
given universal satisfaction. 
** I dontgo oat c^-ery niglit with my instru- 



ment. I always go on the Monday, Tuesday, 
Wednesday, and Saturday, for those are the 
nights when I take most money, especially on 
the Monday and Saturday. The Monday and 
Saturday are generally 0«., Tne^days about Os., 
and Wednesdays about 2«. did. Then the Thurs- 
day averages Is. bd., and the Fridays, in some 
localities, when* the men are paid on that 
night, are equal to Saturday. Kucli are the 
benefits arising from night exhibition. In the 
day it comes to rjitlier more. I've been to 
Greenwich, and on the One-tree Hilll've done 
more with the sun light than the night light. 
Taking the ehuuffes of weather, such as rain 
and cold bleak nights, and such weather as 
isn't suitable to such an exhibition, I may say 
safely that my income amounts to 80/. a-year. 
The capital required for such a busine^w a- 
mounts to from 10/. to 20/. My instnmiont 
only cost 5/. ; but it was parted with to raise 
money ; — and I woidihi't take 50/. for it. It 
was my sister's son-in-law who sold it. It 
was a gift more than a sale. You can buy a 
very good microscope for 10/., but a gi-eat deal, 
of course, is required in choosing it; for 
you may buy a thing not worth iiOs. Y'ou'd 
have an achromatic mi«Toscopo for :iO/. It 
costs mo about 4c/. a- week for oil. the best 
sporm, at I5. 4</. the pint ; and a quarter of a 
pint will last me the week. I get my sjjeci- 
mens in Lomlon. I prepare them jUI myself, 
and always keep a stock by me. For the sake 
of any gentleman who may have any micro- 
scope, and wish to procure excellent living 
specimens of mites and animalculrp in water, 
may ilo so in tliis way. (This is a secret which 
1 give from a desire which I feel to aflbnl plea- 
sure to gentlemen of a scientific mind.) Get 
mites from a cheesemonger. Mites ditf.T in 
their shape and form, acconling to the chiH»Re 
Ihey are tjiken from. The Stilton-cheesi^ «litfers 
from the Dutcli-cheese mite, and so does that of 
the aristix-i-ntic Cheshire, as I call it. In or- 
der to rise them clear and transparent, take a 
wooden box, of *Z\ inches deep and 2 J inches 
in diameter, with a thick screw -hd, ami let the 
lid take otl* half-way down. Place the dust in 
the bottom of the box, damp the thread of the 
scrow-lid, to make it air-tight. The mites 
will ascend to the lid of the box. Fom: or five 
hours af^er^'ards unscrew the lid gently, and, 
removing it, let it fall gently on a piece of 
writing paper. The mit<^ crawl up to the lid, 
and by this way you get them free from dust 
and clean. To make the animalculaei water, 
I draw from the bottom of the water-tub a 
small quantity of water, and I put about a hnnd- 
ful of new hay in that water. I expose it to 
the influence of *>e solar light, or some gentle 
heat, for three i/v four hours. Skim oft' its 
surface. After washing your hands, take your 
finger and let one drop of the hay-water fall 
on the gloss, and then add to it another drop 
of pure water to make it more transparent. 
This inform Uion took mo some years of ex- 
perience to discover. I never read it or leomt 



Xo. LX. 



88 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



it from any one, but found it out myself; but 
all liberal scientific men like to share their in- 
formation. 

*' It's impossible for me to say how many 
people have looked through my instrument, 
but they must be coimted by tens of thou- 
sands. I have had 160 looking through in 
one night, or ld«. 4</. worth. This was on a 
peculiar occasion. They average about 6«. 
worth. If 1 could get out every night I 
should do well. As it is, I am obliged to work 
at my trade of shoemaking to keep myself: 
for you must take it into consideration, that 
there are some nights when I cannot show my 
exhibition. Very often I have a shilling or 
sixpence given to me as a present by my ad- 
mirers. Many a half-crown I've had as well. 

^ One night I was showing over at the Ele- 
phant and Castle, and I saw a Quaker gentle- 
man coming along, and ho said to me, * What 
art thee showing to night, friend ? ' So I told 
him ; and he says, * And what doth thee charge, 
friend t ' I answered, ' To the working man, 
sir, I am determined to charge no more than 
a penny; but to a gentleman, I always 
leave it to their liberality. ' So he said, * TVell, 
I like that, friend; I'U give thee all I have.' 
And he put his hand into his pocket, and he 
pulled out five penny pieces. You see that is 
what I always do; and it meets with its re- 
ward." 

Peep-Shows. 

CoMCEBKiNa these, I received the subjoined 
narrative from a man of considerable expe- 
rience in the ** profession :** — 

" Being a cripple, I am obliged' to exhibit a 
small peep-show. I lost the use of this arm 
ever sinc« I was three months old. My 
mother died when I was ten years old, and 
after that my father took up with an Irish- 
woman, and turned nie aud my youngest 
sister (she was two years younger than me) 
out into Uie streets. My father had originally 
been a dyer, but was working at the fiddle- 
string business then. My youngest sister got 
employment at my father's trade, but I couldn't 
get no work, because of my crippled arms. I 
walked about till I fell down in the streets for 
want. At last a man, who had a sweetmeat- 
shop, took pity on mo. His wife made the 
sweetmeats, and minded the shop while he 
went out a-juggling in the streets, in the 
Bamo Samee line. He told me as how, if I 
would go round the country with him, and 
sell prints while he was a«juggling in the 
public-houses, he'd find me in wittles and 
pay my lodging. I joined him« and stopped 
with him two or three year. After that, I 
went to work fpr a werry large waste-paper 
dealer. He used to buy up all the old back 
numbers of the cheap periodicals and penny 
publications, and send me out with them to 
sell at a farden a-piece. He used to give me 
fourpence out of every shilling, and I done 
very well with that, till the periodicals came 



so low, and so many on 'em, that they wouldn't 
sell at all. Sometimes I could make 15«. on 
a Saturday night and a Sunday morning, a- 
selling the odd numbers of periodicals, su& as 

* Tales of the Wars,' * Lives of the Pirates,*^ 

* Lives of the Highwaymen,* &c I've often 
sold as many as 2000 numbers on a Saturday 
night in the New Cut, and the most of them 
was works about thieves, and highwaymen^ 
and pirates. Besides me there was three 
others at the same business. Altogether, I 
dare say, m^ master alone used to get rid of 
10,000 copies of such works on a Saturday 
night and Sunday morning. Our principal 
customers was young men. My master made 
a good bit of money at it. He had been 
about 18 years in the business, and had begun 
with 2m. Od. I was with him 15 year on and 
off, and at the best time I used to earn my 
3()«. a- week full at that tame. But then I was 
foolish, and didn't take care of my money. 
When I was at tlie * odd-number business,' I 
bought a peep-show. I gave 2/. 10«. for it. 
I had it second-hand. I was persuaded to 
buy it. A person as has got only one hand» 
you see, isn't like other folks, and the people 
said it would always bring me a meal of 
victuals, and keep me from starving. The 
peep-shows was a-doing very well then (that'e 
about five or six years back), when the theaytres 
was all a shilling to go into them whole priee, 
but now there's many at Sd, and Ud,^ and a 
good lot at a penny. Before the theaytres 
lowered, a peep-showman could make Ss. or 4f. 
a-day, at the least, in fine weather, and on a 
Saturday night about double that money. At 
a fair he could take his 15<. to I/, a-day. 
Then there was about nine or ten peep-shows 
in London. These were all back-shows. There 
are two kinds of peep-shows, which we caH 

* back-shows ' and ' caravan-shows.' The cam* 
van-shows are much larger than the others, 
and are drawn by a horse or a donkey. Th^ 
have a green-baize curtain at the back, whien 
shuts out them as don't pay. The showmen 
usually lives in these caravans with thdr 
families. Often there will be a man, his wi£% 
and three or four children, living in one of 
these shows. These caravans mostly go into 
the countiy, and very seldom are seen in town. 
They exhibit principally at fairs and feasts, or 
wakes, in country villages. They generally 
go out of London between March and April* 
because some fairs begin at that time, but 
many wait for the fairs at M ay. Then they work 
their way right round, from village to town. 
They teU one another what part they're a- 
going to, and Uiey never interfere with one 
another's rounds. If a new hand comes into 
the business, they're werry civil, and tells him 
what places to work. The carawans comes to 
London about October, after the fairs is over. 
The scenes of them carawan shows is mostly 
upon recent battles and murders. Anything 
in that way, of late occurrence, suits them* 
Theatrical plays ain't no good for conntiy 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR, 



SO 



(ovxis, 'cause they don't understand such 
things there. People is weny fond of the 
battles in the country, but a murder wot is 
¥611 known is worth more than all the fights. 
There was more took witli Rush's murder than 
theie has been even by the Battle of Waterloo 
itself. Snnic of the carawan-shows does werry 
well. Their averupre taking is iJUs. a-week for 
the snmroer months. At some fairs they'll 
take 5/. in the three days. They have been 
about town as long as we can recollect. I 
ihould say there is full 50 of these carawan- 
thows throughout the country. Some never 
€omes into Loudon at all. There is about a 
dozen that comes to London regular every 
winter. The business in general goes from 
family to family. The cost of a carawan- 
show, second-hand, is 40/. ; that's without the 
glasses, and them runs from 10s. to 1/. a- 
piece, because they're lai'ge. Why, I've knowed 
the front of a peep-show, with the glasses, 
eost 00/. ; the front was mahogany, and had 
*UJ glasses, with gilt caned mouldings round 
«ach on 'em. The scenes will cost about 6/. 
if done by the best artist, and 3/. if done by 
a common hand. The back-sho^vs are peep- 
tbows that stand upon trussels, and arc so 
anall as to admit of being carried on tlie back. 
The scenery is about 18 inches to 2 foot in 
l^gth, and about 15 inches high. They have 
beoi introduced about ftfteeu or sixteen years. 
The man as first brought 'em up was named 

BiUy T ; he was lame of one leg, and 

nsed to exhibit little automaton figures in the 
Keir Cut. On their first coming out, the oldest 
Wck-showman as I know on told me they 
«mld take 155. a-day. But now we can't do 
more than Is. a-week, run Saturday and all 
the other days together, — and that's through 
the theayters being so low. It's a regular 
starring life now. We has to put up with the 
lunsults of people so. The back-shows gene- 
Tilly exhibits plays of different kinds wot's 
been performed at the tlieayters lately. I've 
got many ditferent plays to my show. I only 
exhibit one at a time. There's ' Halonzer the 
Brmvo and the Fair Himogen ; ' *• The Dog of 
Hontargis and the Forest of Bondy ;* ' Hyder 
Hsiley, or the Lions of Mysore ; * ' The Forty 
Thieves* (that never done no good to me); 
' The DevU and Dr. Faustus ; ' and at Christ- 
Bss time we exhibit pantomimes. I has some 
ether scenes as well. I've * Napoleon's Return 
ftom Helba,' • Napoleon at Waterloo,* * The 
Death of Lord Nelson,' and also ' The Queen 
embarking to start for Scotland, from the 
Dockyard at Voolich.' W^e takes more from 
children than grown people in London, and 
more from grown people than children in the 
eotmtry. You see, grown people has such re- 
marks made upon them when they're a-peep- 
ing dirough in Ix)ndon, as to make it bad for 
us here. Lately I have been hardly able to get 
a living, you may say. Some days I've taken 
6^ others 8</., and sometimes Is. — that's what 
I call a good day for any of tlie week-days. On 



a Saturday it runs fh)m 2«. to 2^. OJ. Of the 
week-days, Monday or Tuesday is the best. 
If there's a fair on near London, such as 
Greenwich, we can go and take 3^., and 4s., or 
5ji. a-day, so long as it lasts. But after that, 
we comes back to the old business, and that's 
bad enough ; for, after you've paid Is. 6i/, 
a-week rent, and 0</. a-week stand for your 
peep-show, and come to buy a bit of coal, why 
all one can get is a bit of bread and a cup <n 
tea to live upon. As for meat, we don't see it 
from one month's end to the other. My old 
woman, when she is at work, only gets five 
fardens a-pair for making a pair of drawers 
to send out for the convicts, and three half- 
pence for a shirt ; and out of that she has to 
find her own thread. There are from six to 
eight scenes in each of the plays that I shows; 
and if the scenes are a bit short, why I puts 
in a couple of battle-scenes ; or I makes up a 
pannerammer for 'em. The children will have 
so much for their money now. I charge a 
halfpenny for a hactive performance. There 
is characters and all — and I explains what 
they are supposed to be a-talking about. 
There's about six back-shows in London. I 
don't think there's more. It don't pay now to 
get up a new play. We works the old ones 
over and over again, and sometimes we buys 
a fresh one of another showman, if we can 
rise the money — the price is 2s. and 2s. Orf. 
I've been obligated to get rid on about twelve 
of ray plays, to get a bit of victuals at home. 
Formerly we used to give a hartist Is. to go in 
the pit and sketch off the scenes and figures 
of any new play that was a-doing well, and we 
thought 'ud taJce, and arter tliat we used to 
give him from Is. 6rf. to 2s. for drawing and 
painting each scene, and "id. and \\d, each for 
the figures, according to the size. Fiach play 
costs us from 15s. to 1/. for the inside scenes 
and figures, and the outside painting as well. 
The outside painting in general consists of 
the most attractive part of the performance. 
The New-Cut is no good at all now on a Satur- 
day night; that's through the cheap penny 
hexhibitions there. Tottenham-court-road ain't 
much account either. The streetmarkets is 
the best of a Saturday night. I'm often 
obliged to take bottles instead of money, and 
they don't fetch more than threepence a 
dozen. Sometimes I take four dozen of bottles 
in a day. I lets 'em see a play for a bottle, 
and often two wants to see for one large 
bottle. The children is dreadful for cheap- 
ening things down. In the summer I goes 
out of London for a month at a stretch. In 
the country I works my battle-pieces. They're 
most pleased there with my Lord Nelson's 
death at the battle of Trafalgar. * That there 
is,' I tell 'em, * a fine painting, representing 
Lord Nelson at the battle of Trafalgar.' In the 
centre is Lord Nelson in his last dying mo- 
ments, supported by Capt. Hardy and the chap- 
lain. On the left is the h explosion of one of the 
enemy's ships by fire. That represents a fine 



IIU 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON FOOB. 



paintiDg, representiDg the death of Lord Nel- 
8011 at the battle of Trafalgar, wot was foaght 
on the r2th of October, 1806. I've got five 
glasses, they cost about d«. apiece when new, 
and is about 8) inches across, with a 3-foot 
focas.'* 

ACBOBAT, OS STBSXT-PoSTTnUUt. 

jft VAN who, as he said, ** had all his life been 
engaged in the profeHsion of Acrobat," volun- 
teered to give me some details of the life led 
flid the earnings made by this class of stroet- 
performers. 

He at the present moment belongs to a 
•« school " of five, who are dressed up in fanci- 
faX and tight-fitting costumes of white calico, 
with blue or red trimmings ; and who are often 
seen in the quiet by-streeU going through 
their gymnastic performances, mounted on 
each other's shoulders, or throwing somer- 
■aults in the air. 

He was a short, wiry-built man, with a 
broad chest, which somehow or onotlier seem- 
ed unnatural, for the bones appeared to have 
been forced forward and dislocated. His ge- 
neral build did not betoken the great nniscu- 
lar strength which must be necessnrj' for the 
various feats which he has to perform ; and 
his walk was rather slovenly nnd loutish than 
brisk and springj', as one would have expected. 
He wore die same brown Chesterfield coat 
which we have all seen him slip ovor his pro- 
fessional dress in the street, when moving off 
after an exhibition. 

His yellow hair reached nearly to his shoul- 
ders, and not being confined by tlie ribbon he 
usually wears across his forehead in the pub- 
lic thoroughfare, it kept stragjfling into his 
eyes, and he had to toss it ba<!k with a jerk, 
after the fashion of a horse with his nose-bog. 

He was a simple, "good-natured" fellow, 
and told his story in a straightforward man- 
ner, which was the more extraordintti7, as he 
prefaced his statement with a remark, ** that 
•U in his * school,' (the professional term for 
a gang or troop,) were terribly against his 
coming ; but that as all he was going to say 
was nothing but the trutli, he didn't care a fig i 
for any of 'em." | 

It is a singular fact, that this man spoke j 
fluently both the French and German lan- 
guages ; and, as will be seen in his statement, 
he has passed many years of his life abroad, 
performing in several circuses, or " pitching " 
(exhibiting in the streets) in the various large 
towns of Sweden, Denmark, Prussia, Switzer- 
land, and France. 

The following is the history of his life, from 
his earliest remembrance, — from two years 
old, indeed, — doMm to his present age, thirty. 
six: — 

"I am what is known as a street-posturer, or 
acrobat. I belong to a school of five, and we 
go about the streets doing pyramids, bending, 
juggling, and la perche. 



" I've been at acrobating for these thirlgr-flve 
years, in London and all parts of En^and, 
as well as on the Continent, in France and 
Germany, as well as in Denmark and Sweden ; 
but only in the principal towns, such as Co- 
peuhagen and Stockholm ; but only a Iktle^ 
for we come back by sea almost directly. ]tf j 
fatlier was a tumbler, and in his da>^ very 
great, and used to be at tlie theatres and in 
Richanlson's show. He 's acted along with 
Joe Grimaldi. I don't remember the play it 
was in, but I know he's acted along with him 
at Sadler's Wells Theatre, at tlie time there was 
real water there. I have heard him talk about 
it. He brought me regular up to the profes- 
sion, and when I first came out I wasn't above 
two years old, and father used to dance me on 
my hands in Risley's style, but not like Bisley. 
I con just recollect being danced in his hands, 
but I can't remember much about it, only he 
used to throw me a somersault with his hand. 
The first time I ever come out by myself was 
in a piece called ' Snowball, ' when I was in^ 
troduced in a snowball ; and I had to do the 
spUts and strides. When father first trained 
me, it hurt my back awfully. He used to take 
my legs and stretch them, and work them 
round in their sockets, and put them up 
straight by my side. That is what they called 
being * cricked,' and it's in general done be- 
fore you eat anything in the morning. 0, yes, 
I can remember being cricked, and it hurt me 
terrible. He put my breast to his breast, and 
then pulled my legs up to my head, and 
knocked 'em against my head and cheeks a- 
bout a dozen times. It seems like as if your 
body was broken in two, and all your muscles 
being pulled out like India-rubber. 

" i worked for my father till I was twelve 
years of ap:e, then I was sold for two years to 
a man of the name of Tagg, another showman^ 
who took me to France. He had to pay father 
Tj/. a-year, and keep me respectable. I used 
to do the same business witli him as with 
father, — splits, and such-like, — and we acted 
in a piece that was \^Tote for us in PariSy 
called *' Les deux Clowns anglais," which was 
produced at the Porte St. Antoine. That 
must have been about the year 1830. We 
were dressed up like two English downs, 
with our faces painted and all ; and we were 
very successful, and had plenty of flowers 
thrown to us. There was one Bomet Burns, 
who was showing in the Boulevards, and 
colled the New Zealcnid Chief, who was tat- 
tooed all over his body. He was very kind to 
me, and mode me a good many presents, aad 
some of the laiiies were kind to me. I knew 
this Bamet Bums pretty well, becaose my 
master was drunk all day pretty well, and he 
was the only Englishman I had to speak tOy 
for I diiln't know French. 

" I ran away from Tagg in Paris, and I went 
with the * Freres de Bouchett,' rope-dancers, 
two brothers who were so called, and I hod 
to clown to the rope. I stopped, with them 



J 



LOIfVON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



01 



tfafiee retn, and we went throagh Belgium 
aod Holland, and done vety well with them. 
The^ was my masters, and had a large booth 
of their own, and would engage paraders to 
itndouiidfle the show to draw &e people ; bat 
thej did all the perfbrmanoes themselves, and 
it wis mostly ac the fairs. 

** From them I came to England, and began 
pitebing in the street. I didn't much like it, 
liter being a regular performer, and looked 
ipon it as a drop. I travelled right down by 
myself to Glasgow fair. I kept company with 
Wombwell's show, — only working for myself. 
loa see they used to stop in the towns, and 
drtv plenty of people, and then I'd begin 
IRfiohing to the crowd. I wasn't lonely because 
I knew plenty of the wild-beast chaps, and, 
beades, I've done pretty well, taking two or 
tlvee shillings a day, and on a Saturday and 
Monday generally five or six. I had a suit of 
tights, and a pair of twacks, with a few span . 
gles on, and as soon as the people came round 
me I began to work. 

"At Glasgow I got a pound a clay, for I went 
vith Mr. Mumford, who had some dancioi^ dulls 
showing at the bottom of the Stone buildings. 
The fiur is a week. And after that one of 
oar chaps wrote to me that there w&s a job 
fer me, if I liked to go over to Ireland and 
join Hr. Batty, who had a circus there. They 
QKd to build wooden circuses in them days, 
tod hadn't tents as now. I stopped a twelve- 
moDth with him, and we only went to four 
towns, and the troupe did wonders. Mr. 
Hughes was the manager for Mr. Batty. There 
VBs Herr Hengler, the great rope-dancer 
moDg the troupe, and his brother Alfred, the 
ftest rider, as is dead now, for a horse kicked 
\m. at Bnstol, and broke his arm, and he 
wouldn't have it cut off, and it mortified, and 
he died. 

"When I left Ireland I went back to Glas- 
gow, and Mr. Band Miller gave the school I 
hid joined an engagement for three montlis. 
We had 61. Srweek between four of us, besides 
ft heneflt, which brought us 2/. each more. 
IGDer had a large penny booth, and had taken 
•bottt \ULoT 14/. a-night. There was acting, 
ad oar performances. Alexander, the lessee of 
the Theatre Royal, prevented him, for having 
■eted, as he also did Anderson the Wizard of the 
Korth, who had the Circus, and acted as well, 
and Mumford ; but they won the day. 

" I left Glasgow with another chap, and wo 
iwit first to Edinburgh and then to Hara- 
Voigh, and then we played at the Tivoli Gar- 
4ni. I stopped abroad for fourteen years, 
pvfonmng at difierent places through France 
■id Switzerland, either along with regular 
companies or else by ourselves, for there was 
foar on us, in schools. After Hamburgh, we 
vent to Copenhagen, and then ^e joined the 
hiother Prioes, or, as they call 'em there, 
J*wce. We <mly did tumbling and jumping 
op on each other's shoulders, and dancing the 
^ pole on our foet, what is called in French 



*trankr.' From there we joined the brothers 
Layman, — both Russians they was, — who was 
very clever, and used to do the *pierrot;' the 
French clown, dressed all in white, — for their 
clown is not like our clown, — and they danced 
the rope and all. The troupe was called the 
Russian ptmtomimists. There we met Herr 
Hengler again, as well as Deulan the dancer, 
who was (lancing at the Eagle and at the 
theatres as Harlekin ; and Anderson, who was 
one of the first clowns of the day, and a good 
comic singer, and on excellent companion, for 
he could make puns and make poems on every 
body in the room. He did, you may recollect, 
some few years ago, throw himself out of 
winder, and killed himself. I read it in the 
newspapers, and a mate of mine afterwards 
told me he was crazy, and thought he was 
performing, and said, ** Hulloa, old feller ! I'm 
coming!" and threw himself out, the same as 
if he'd been on the stage. 

*' In Paris and all over Switzerland wc per« 
formed at the fairs, when we had no engage^ 
ments at the regular theatres, or we'd pitch in 
the streets, just according. In Paiis we was 

regular stars. There was only rae and R , 

and we was engaged for tliree months with 
Mr. Le Compte, at his theatre in the Passage 
Choiseul. It's all children that acts there; 
and he trains young octoi-s. He's called the 
'Physician to the King;' indeed, he is tha 
king's conjurer. 

"Im very fond ot' France; indeed, I first 
went to school there, when I was alonpj with 
Tagg. You see I never liad no schooling in 
Loudon, for I was so busy that I hadn't no 
time for learning. I also married in France. 
My wife was a groat bender (used to throw 
herself backwards on her hands and make the 
body in a harch). I think slie killed herself 
at it ; indeed, as the doctors tolled me, it was 
notliing else but that. She would keep on 
doing it when she was in the family way. 
I've many a time ordered her to give over, but 
she wouldn't ; she was so fond of it ; for she 
took a deal of money. She died in childbed 
nt St. Malo, poor thing ! 

" In France we take a deal more money 
than in England. You see they all give; even 
a child will give its mite ; and another thing, 
anybody on a Sunday may take as much 
money as will keep him all the week, if they 
like to work. The most money I ever took in 
all ray life was at Calais, the first Sunday 
cavalcade after I^ent: that is the Sunday after 
Mardi-gras. They go out in a cavalcade, 
dressed up in carnival costume, and beg for 

the poor. There was me, Dick S , and 

Jim C and his wife, as danced the High- 
land fling, and a chap they calls Polka, who 
did it when it first came up. We pitched about 
the streets, and wc took 700 fi:ancs all in half- 
pence — that is, 28/. — on one Sunday: and 
you mustn't work till after twelve o'clock, tliat 
is grand mass. There were liards and cen- 
times, and half-sons, and all kinds of copper 



02 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR, 



moiiry, but very little silver, for the French- 
men Vnn't afford it; but all copper money 
change into five-frnno pieces, and it's the same 
to nie. The other chaps didn't like the liards, 
so I bought '01 ji all up. They're like button- 
ho:i(N, and such-like ; and they said they 
-nouldn't Imve that bad money, so I got more 
than my share: for after we had shared I 
bought the heap of liards, and gave ten iVancs 
for the heap, and I think it brought me in 
sixty francH ; but then I had to run about to 
all tlio little shops to get five-franc pieces. 
Yon sne, I was the only chap that spoke 
French ; ko, you see, I'm worth a double share. 
I always ttU the chaps, when they come to 
mc, that I don't want nothink but my share ; 
but then I says, * You're single men, and I'm 
married, and I must support my children;' 
and so I gets a little out of the h6tel expenses, 
for I charges them \s, M, a-day, and at the 
K«»coud-rate h6tels I can keep them for a shil- 
ling,'. Theres three or four schools now want 
me to take them over to France. They calls 
me * Fr»^n«'hy,' because I can talk French and 
C'ronjinn tlnently — that's the name I goes by. 

*' I used to go to all the fJtes in Paris along 
with my troupe. We have been four and we 
have U'on five in one troupe, but our general i 
nunibtT is fniu:, for we don't want any more 
than four ; for we can do the three high and 
the sproiul, and that's the principal thing. 
Our music is generally the drum and pipes. 
We don't take them over with us, but gets 
Italian<4 to do it. Sometimes we gets a German 
band of five to come for a share, for you see 
tliey can't take money as we can, for our per- 
formance will cause children to give, and with 
them they don't think about it, not being so 
partial to music. 

" Posturing to this day is called in France 
* Le Pislocftiion anglais;' and indeed the 
Knglish fellows is the best in the world at 
posturing : we can lick them all. I think 
they eat too much bread ; for though meat's 
so cheap in the south of France {'Zd. a-lb.), 
yet they don't eat it. They don't eat much 
potatoes I'ither ; and in the south they gives 
them to the pigs, which used to make me 
grumble, I'm so f<md of them. Chickens, too, 
is Id. tlie pair, and you may drink wine at Id. 
the horn. 

*' At St. Cloud f(§te we were called • I^s 
Quatre Freres anglais,' and we used to pitch 
near the Cascade, which was a good place for 
us. We have shared our 30«. each a-day then 
easy ; and a great deal of English money we 
got then, for the English is more generous out 
of England. There was the f(?te St Ger- 
main, and St. Denis, and at Versailles, too ; 
and we've done pretty well at each, as well as 
at the Champs Elys^ on the 1st of May, as 
used to be the fete Louis- Philippe. On that 
f^te we were paid by the king, and we hail 
fifty francs a man, and plenty to eat and drink 
on that day; and every poor man in Paris has 
two pound of sausages and two pounds of 



bread, and two bottles of wine. But we were 
different firom that, you know. We had a 
d/jeiniy with fish, flesh, and fowl, and a dinner 
fit for a king, both brought to us in the Champs 
Elys^es, and as much as ever we hked to drink 
all day long — the best of wine. We had to 
perform every alternate half-hour. 

** I was in Paris when Mr. Macready come 
to Paris. I was engaged with my troupe at 
the Porte St. Martin, where we was called the 
Bedouin Arabs, and had to brown our faces. 
I went to see him, for I knew one of the 
actors. He was very good, and a beautiful 
house there was — splendid. All my other 
partners they paid. The price was half-a- 
guinea to the lowest place. The French peo- 
ple said he was very good, but he was mostly 
supported by the English that was there. 
An engagement at the Porte St. Martin was 
lUOO francs a-week for five of \is; bat of 
course we had to leave the streets alone during 
the four weeks we was at the theatre. 

** I was in Paris, too, at the revolntion in 
1848, when Louis-Philippe had to run ofll 
I was in bed, about two o'clock in the morn- 
ing, when those that began the revolntion 
was coming round — men armed; and they 
come into ever}'body'8 bed-room and said, * You 
must get up, you're wanted.' I told them I 
was English ; and they said, * It don't matter; 
you get yoiur living here, and you must fight 
the same as we fight for our liberty.' They 
took us — four English as was in the same 
gang as I was with — to the Barri^re du 
TrOne, and made us pick up paving-stones. 
I had to carry them ; and we formed four bar- 
ricades right up to the Faubourg St. Antoine, 
close to the Bastille. We had sometimes a 
bit of bread an<l a glass of \vine, or brandy, 
and we was four nights and three days work- 
ing. There was a groat deal of chaff going 
on, and they called me * le petit Supplier* 
posturer, you know — but they was of all coun- 
tries. We was put in the back -ground, and 
didn't fire much, for we was ordered not to 
fire unless attacked ; and we had only to keep 
ground, and if anything come, to give warn- 
ing ; but we had to supply them with powder 
and ammunition of one sort and another. 
There was one woman — a very clever woman 
—from Normandy, who use<l to bring us 
brandy round. She died on the barricade; 
and there's a song about her now. I was 
present when part of the throne was homed. 
After that I went for a tour in Lorraine ; and 
then I was confined in Tours for thirty-four 
da^-s, for the Republicans passed a bill that 
all foreigners were to be sent home to their 
own countries ; and, indeed, several manufiae- 
tories where English worked had to stop, for 
the workmen was sent home. 

" I came back to England in 1852, and Txe 
been pitching in the streets ever since. I've 
changed gangs two or three times since then ; 
but there's five in our gang now. There's 
three high for * pyramids,' and *the Arabs 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR, 



03 



hiDg down ; ' that is, one a-top of his shoul- 
ders, and one hanging down from his neck ; 
•od * the spread,' that^s one on the shoulders, 
and one hanging from each hand ; and * the 
Hercules.' that is. one on the ground, support- 
ing himself on his hands and feet; whilst 
one stands on his knees, another ou his 
shoulders, and the other one a-top of them 
two, on their shoulders. There's loads of 
tiicks like them that we do, that would 
amoait fill up your paper to put down. There's 
one of our gang dances, an Englishman, 
vfailst the fifth plays the drum and pipes. 
The dances are mostly comic dances; or, as 
TO call them, * comic hops.' He throws his 
legs about and makes faces, and he dresses 
u a clown. 

* When it's not too windy, wc do the perch. 
We carry a long fir pole about with us, twenty- 
four feet long, and Jim the strong man, as 
they calls me, that is I, holds the pole up at 
the bottom. The one that runs up is called 
the sprite. It's the bottom man that holds 
the pole that has the dangerous work in la 
perche. He's got all to look to. Anybody, 
who has got any courage, can nm up the 
pole; but I have to guide and balance it; 
and the pole weighs some 20 lbs., and the 
sun about d stone. When it's windy, it's 
vay awkward, and I have to walk about to 
keq) him steady and balance him; but Im 
asrer frightened, I know it so well. Tlie 
aan who runs up it does such feats as these ; 
for instance, ' the bottle position,' that is only 
holding by his feet, with his two arms ex- 
tended ; and then '■ the hanging down by one 
toe,' with only one foot on the top of the pole, 
and hanging down with his aims out, swim- 
■ing on the top on his belly ; and ' the hori- 
zontal.' as it is called, or supporting the body 
out sideways by the strength of the arms, and 
sadi.like, winding up with coming down head 
fiist. 

* The pole is fixed very tightly in a socket 
m my waistband, and it takes two men to pull 
it out, for it gets jammed in with his force 
on a-tup of it. The danger is more with the 
bottom one than the one a-top, though few 
people would think so. You see, if he falls 
ofi^ be is sure to light on his feet like a cat ; 
for we're taught to tliis trick ; and a man can 

, jnnp off a place tlitrty feet high, without 

halting himself, easy. Now if the people was 

to go frontwards, it would be all up with me, 

' boMOse with the leverage and its being fixed 

I to tight to my stomach, there's no help for it, 

I lor it would be sure to rip me up and tear out 

I aiy entrails. I have to keep my eyes about 

I i&e, for if it goes too fur, I could never regain 

the balance again. But it's easy enough when 

jon're accustomed to it. 

* The one that goes up the pole can always 
lee into the drawing-rooms, and he'll tell us 
vhere it's good to go and get any money, for 
he can lee the people peeping behind the 
cartains ; and they generally give when they 



find they are discovered. It's part of his work 
to glance his eyes about him, and then he 
calls out whilst he is up, ' to the right,' or ' the 
left,' as it may be; and although the crowd 
don't understand him, we do. 

" Our gang generally prefer performing in 
the West-end, because there's more * calls' 
there. Gentlemen looking out of window see 
us, and call to us to stop and perform; but 
we don't trust to them, even, but make a col- 
lection when the performance is half over ; and 
if it's good we continue, and make two or three 
collections during tlie exhibition. What we 
consider a good collection is 7*. or 8«.; and 
for that we do the whole performance. And be- 
sides, we get what we call * ringings ' afterwards; 
that's halfpence that are thrown into the ring. 
Sometimes we get lOs. altogether, and some- 
times more and sometimes less; though it's 
a very poor pitch if it's not up to 5*. I'm 
talking of a big pitch, when wc go through all 
our * slang,' as we say. But then we have our 
little pitches, which don't lost more tlian a 
quarter of an hour — our fiying pitches, as we 
call them, and for them O*. is an out-and-outer, 
and we are well contented if we get half-a-crown. 
We usually reckon about twenty pitches a-day, 
that's eight before dinner and twelve after. It 
depends greatly upon the holidays as to what 
we makes in the days. If there's any faii-s or 
feasts going on we do better. There's two days 
in the week wo reckon nothing, that's Friday 
and Saturday. Friday's little good all day 
long, and Saturday's only good after sLx o'clock, 
when wages have been paid. My share may on 
the average come to this : — Monday, about 7«. 
or 85., and the same for Tuesday. Then Wed- 
nesday and Thursday it falls off again, per- 
haps 35. or 4*. ; and Friday ain't wortli much ; 
no more is Saturday. We used to go to 
Sydenham on Saturdays, and we would find the 
gents there; but now it's getting too late, and 
the price to the Palace is only 2a. (id., when it 
used to be 5s., and that makes a wonderful 
difference to us. And yet we like the poor 
people better than the rich, for it's the half- 
pence that tells up best Perhaps we might 
take a half-sovereign, but it's veiy rare, and 
since 1853 I don't remember taking more than 
twenty of them. There was a Princess — I'm 
sure I've forgotten her name, but she was 
German, and she used to live in Grosvenor- 
square — she used to give us half-a-sovereign 
every Monday during three months she was in 
London. The servants was ordered to tell us 
to come every Monday at three o'clock, and we 
always did; and even tliough tliere was no. 
body looking, we used to play all the same ; 
and as soon as the drum ceased playing, there 
was the money brought out to us. We con- 
tinued playing to her till we was told she had 
gone away. We have also had sovereign calls. 
When my gang was in the Isle of Wight, Lord 

Y has often give us a sovereign, and plenty 

to eat and drink as well. 

^ I can't say but what it's as good as a 



94 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



hundred a-year to me; but I can't say, it's the 
same with all posturew: for you see I can 
talk French, and if there's any foreigners in 
the crowd I can talk to them, and they are sure 
to give something. But most i)08turer8 make 
a good living, and if they look out for it, there 
are few but make 80». a- week. 

Posturing as it is called (some people 
call it contortionists, that's a new name; 
a Chinese nondescript — that's the first 
name it came out as, although what wc 
ealls posturing is a man as can sit upon 
nothing; as, for instance, when he's on the 
back of two chairs and does a split with his 
legs stretched out and sitting on nothing like) 
— posturing is reckoned the healthiest life 
there is, because we never get the rheumatics ; 
and another thing, we always eat hearty. We 
often put on wet dresses, such as at a fair, 
when they've been washed out clean, and we put 
them on before they're dry, and that's what gives 
the rheumatism ; but we arc always in such a 
perspiration that it never affects us. It's very 
violent exercise, and at night we feels it in our 
thighs more than anywhere, so that if it's damp 
or cold weather it hurts us to sit down. If it's 
wet weather, or showery, we usually get up 
stiff in the morning, and then we have to 
• crick ' each other before we go out, and prac- 
tise in our bed-rooms. On the Sunday we 
also go out and practise, either in a field, or at 
the * Tan* in Bermondsey. We used to go to 
the* Hops' in Maiden-lfUQO, but that's done 
away with now. 

" When we go out performing, we always 
take our dresses out with us, and we have our 
regular houses appointed, according to what 
part of the town we play in, if in London ; and 
we have one pint of beer a man, and put on 
our costume, and leave our clothes bebind us. 
Every morning we put on a clean dress, so we 
are obliged to have two of them, and whilst we 
are wearing one the other is being washed. 
Some of our men is married, and their wives 
wash for them, but them as isn't give the dress 
to anybody who wants a job. 

** Accidents are very rare with posturers. 
We often put our hip-bone out, but that's soon 
put right again, and we are at work in a week. 
All oiir bones are loose like, and wo can ptiU 
one another in, without having no pullies. 
One of my gang bi-oke his leg at Cbatham 
race-course, through the grass being slipper}-, 
and ho was pitched down fVom three high; 
but wc paid him his share, just the same as 
if he was out with us ; — it wouldn't do if we 
didn't, as a person wouldn't mount in bad 
weather. That man is getting on nicely, — 
he walks with a crutch though, — but he'U be 
right in another month, and then he'll only be 
put to light work till he's strong. He ought 
not to be walking out yet, but he's so daring 
there's no restraining him. I, too, once 
broke my arm. I am a hand-jumper; that is, 
I a'most always light on my hands when I 
jump. I was on a chair on a top of a table, 



and I had to get into the chair and do what* 
we call the fh)g, and jump off it, coming down 
on my hands. Everything depends upon how 
you hold your arms, and I was careless, and 
didnt pay attention, and my arm snapped 
just below the elbow. I couldn't work for 
three months. I was at Beauvais, in France, 
at the time, but the circus I was witli sup- 
ported me. 

** My father's very near seventy-six, and he 
has been a timibler for fifty years; my children 
are staying with him, and he's angry tliat I 
won't bring them up to it : but I want them to • 
be some trotie or another, because I don't like 
the life for tlicm. Tliere's so much suffering 
before they begin tumbling, and then there's 
prreat temptation to drink, and such-like. Pd 
sooner send them to school, than let them get 
their liring out of the streets. Pve one boy 
and two girls. They're always at it at home, 
indeed ; father and my sister-in-law say they 
cant keep them firom it. The boy's very nimble. 

** In the winter time we generally goes to the 
theatres. Wc are a'most always engaged for 
the pantomimes, to do the sprites. We always 
reckon it a good thirtecn-weeks' job, but in 
the country it's only a month. If we don't 
apply for tlie job they come after us. The 
sprites in a pantomime is quite a new style, 
and we are the only chaps that can do it, — 
the posturers and tumblers. In some theatres 
they find the dn*sses. Last winter I was at 
Liveri>ool, and wore a green dress, spangled 
all over, which belonged to Mr. Gopcland, the 
manager. We never speak in the play, but 
just merely rush on, and throw somersaults, 
and frogs, and such -like, and then rush off 
again. Little Wheeler, the greatest tumbler 
of the day, was a posturer in the streets, and 
now he's in France doing his 1(W. a-weel^ 
engaged for three years." 

The Street Bislet. 
There is but one person in London who goes 
about the street doing what is termed " The 
Kislcy performance," and even he is rarely to 
be met with. 

Of all the street professionals whom I hare 
seen, this man certainly bears off the palm for 
respectability of attire. He wore, when he 
came to me, a brown Chesterfield coat and 
Mack continuations, and but for the length of 
his hair, the immense size of his hmbs, and 
the peculiar neatness of his movements, it 
would have been impossible to have recognized 
in him any of those characteristics which 
usually distinguish the street performer. He 
had a chest which, when he chose, he could 
force out almost like a pouter pigeon. The 
upper part of his body was broad and weighty- 
looking. He asked me to feel the muscle of 
his arm, and doubling it up, a huge lump rose, 
almost as if he had a cocoa-nut under his 
sleeve; in fact, it seemed as fuHy developed as 
the gilt arms placed as signs over the gold- 
beaters' shops. 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



05 



Like most of toe street professionals, he 
Tolimtcered to exhibit before me some of his 
feaU of strength and agility. Ho threw his 
bfad back (his long hair tossing about like an 
Indian fly- whisk) until his head touched his 
heels and there he stood bent backward, and 
Dearly dtuible, like a strip of whalebone. Then 
he promenaded round the room, walking on 
his hands, his coat-tails falling about his 
bbi'oldcrs, and making a rare jingle of lialf- 
penoe the while, and his legs dangling iu front 
of him as limp as the lash of a cart- whip. I 
refused to allow him to experiment upon me, 
and politely declined his obliging offer to 
raise me from the ground, " and hold me at 
imi'is-length like a babby." 

^Tien he spoke of his parents, and the 
bruthers who performed with him, he did so 
m m^^t affectionato terms, and his descriptions 
of the straggles he had gone tlirough in his 
fixed determination to be a tumbler, and how 
he bad worked to gain his parents' consent, 
had a peculiarly s<.)n'owful touch about them, 
05 if he still blamed himself for the pain lie 
had caused them. Farther, whenever he 
ZDentioned his litUc brothers, ho always 
stopped for two or three minutes to explain 
to me that they were the cleverest lads in 
London, and as true aud Idnd-hcartcd as they 
Tere talented. 

He was more minute in his account of him- 
»df than my space will permit him to be ; 
for as he said, " he had a wonderful rememory- 
ition. and could recollect imything." 

With the omission of a few interesting de- 
tails, the following is tlie account of the poor 
iellow s life : — 

** My professional name is Signer Nelsonio, 
bat iny real one is Nelson, and my companions 
know me as 'Leu,' which is short for Lewis. 
I can do plenty of things beside tlie liisley 
business, fur it forms only one part of my 
entertainment. I am a strong man, aud a 
fire-king, and a stone -breaker by the fist, as 
veil as being sprite, and posturer, and doing 
• la f>erche.* 

Last Christmas (1855) I was, along with my 
tro brothers, engaged at the Theatre Eoyal, 
Gieltenhani, to do the si>rites in the panto- 
mime. I have brought the bill of the per- 
ionnances with me to show it yon. Here you 
gee the pantomime is called *THE IMP OF 
THE NORTH, or The Golden Bason; 
nd Harlequin aud the ^Iillek's Daugu- 
7EK.' In the pantoiiiimical transformations 
it says, * SmiTES — by the Nelson Family : * 
that's me and my two brothers. 

•* The reason why I took to the lUsley busi- 
ness was this. When I was a boy of seven I 
went to school, and my father and mother 
would make me go ; but, unfortunately, I was 
stubborn, and would not. I said I wanted to 
do some work. * Well,' said they, * you shan't 
do any work not yet, till you're thiilecn years 
dd, and yoa shall go to schooL' Says I, * I 
vmdo vork.' Well, I wouldn't; so I plays 



the truant. Then I goei to amuse myselt*, and 
I goes to Haggerstone-fields in tlie Hackney- 
road, and then I see some boys learning to 
tumble on some dung there. So I began to 
do it too, and I very soon picked up two or 
three tricks. There was a man who was in 
tlie profession as tumbler and acrobat, who 
came there to practise his feats, and he see 
me tumbling, and says he, * My lad', will you 
come along with me, and do the Eisley busi- 
ness, and ill buy you your clothes, and give 
you a shilling a- week besides?' I told him 
that perhaps mother and father wouldn't let 
me go ; but says he, * 0, yes they will.' So 
ho comes to our house ; aud says mother, 
' WTiat do you want along wiUi my boy ?' and 
he says, * I want to make a tumbler of him.' 
But she wouldn't. 

" My father is a tailor, but my uncle and 
all the family was good singers. My uncle 
was leuder of the Druiy-lane band, and Miss 
Nelson, who came out there, is my cousin. 
Tliey ore out in Australia now, doing very 
well, giring concerts day and night, and clear- 
ing by both perloniionces one hundred and • 
titty pounds, day aud night (and sooner, more 
than less), as advertised in the pa^KT which 
they sent to us. 

** One day, instead of going to school, I went 
along with this man into the streets, and then 
he did the Risley business, throwing me about 
on his hands and feet. I was about thu'teen 
years old then. Mother asked me at night 
where I had been, and when I said I had been 
at school, she went and asked tlie master and 
found mo out Then I brought home some 
dresses once, and she tore Uiem uj), so I was 
forced to drop going out in the streets. I 
msuie some more dresses, and she tore those 
up. Then I got chucking about, a la Hisley, 
my htde brother, who was about seven 
years old ; and says mother, * Let that boy 
alone, you'll break his neck.' * No, I shan't,' 
say I, and I kept on doing till I had leaint 
him the tricks. 

" One Saturday night, father and mother 
and my eldest brother went to a concert-room. 
I had no money, so I couldn't go. I asked my 
little brother to go along with me round some 
tap-rooms, exhibiting with me. So I smuggled 
him out, telling him I'd give him lots of cakes ; 
end awuy we went, and we got about seven 
shillings and sixpence. I got home before 
father and mother come home. When they 
returned, father says, *^^^lere have you been?* 
Then I showed the money we had got ; he was 
regular astonished, and says he ' How is this ? 
you can do nothing, you ain't clever I * I says, 
* Oh, ain't I ? and it's all my own learning :' so 
tlien he told me, that since he couldn't do 
nothing else with me, I should take to it as 
my profession, aud stick to it. 

" Soon after I met my old friend the swal- 
lower again, in Eatcliffehighway. I was along 
with my little brotlier, and both dressed up in 
tights and spangled trunks. Says he, ' Oh, yon 



96 



« LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



will take to tumbling will you? Well, then, come 
along with me, and we'll go in the country.* 
Then he took us down to Norwich (to Yar- 
mouth) ; then he beat me, and would give me 
no clothes or money, for he spent it to go and 
get drunk. We not sending any money home, 
mother began to wonder what had become of 
me ; so one night, when this man was out with 
a lot of girls getting drunk, I dipt away, and 
walked thirty miles that night, and then I began 
I)erforming at different public-houses, and so 
worked my way till I got back to London 
again. My little brother was along with me, 
but I carried him on my shoulders. One day it 
came on to rain awful, and we had run away in 
our dresses, and then we was dripping. I was 
frightened to see little Johnny so wet, and 
thought he'd bo ill. There was no shed or 
bam or nothing, and only the country road, 
so I tore on tUl we came to a roadside inn, 
and then I wrung his clothes out, and I only 
had fourpcnce in my pocket, and I ordered 
some rum' and water hot, and made him 
drink. * Drink it, it'll keep the cold out of 
you.' When we got out he was quite giddy, and 
kept sa}ing, * Oh, I'm so wet I ' With all these 
misfortunes I walked, carrying the little chap 
across my shoulders. One day I only had a 
halfpenny, and Johnny was crying for hunger, 
Ko I goes to a fellow in a orchard and say I, 
• Can you make me a ha'path of apples ? * He 
would take the money, but he gave a cap-full 
of fallings. I've walked thirty-eight miles in 
one day canying him, and I was awfully tired. 
On that same day, when we got to Colchester, 
we put up at the Blue Anchor, and I put 
Johnny into bed, and I went out myself and 
went the round of the public-houses. My feet 
was blistered, but I had my light tumbling 
slippers on, and I went to wox^ and got sixteen 
pence-halfpenny. This got us bread and 
cheese for supper and breakfast, and paid 
threepence each for the bed ; and the next day 
we went on and performed in a village and got 
three shillings. Then, at Chelmsford we got 
eight shillings. I bought Johnny some 
clothes, for he had only his tights and little 
trunks, and though it was summer he was 
cold, especially after rain. The nearer we 
got to lK>ndon the better we got off, for they 
give US then plenty to eat and drink, and we 
did pretty well for money. After I passed 
Chelmsford I never was hungry again. When 
we got to Romford, I waited two days till it 
was market-day, when we performed before 
the country people and got plenty of money 
and beer ; but I never cared for the beer. We 
took four shillings and sixpence. I wouldn't 
let Johnny take any beer, for Pm fond of him, 
and he's eleven now, and the cleverest little 
fellow in England ; and I learnt him every- 
thing he knows out of my own head, for he 
never had no master. We took the train to 
London from Romford (one shilling and six- 
pence each), and then we went home. 
**When we got back, mother and father 



said they knew how it would be, and laughed 
at us. They wanted to keep us at home, but 
I wouldn't, and they was forced to give way. 
In London I stopped still for a long time, at 
last got an engagement at two shillings a- 
night at a penny gaff in Shoreditch. It was 
Sambo, a black man, what went about the 
streets along with the Demon Brothers—* 
acrobats — that got me the engagement. 

" One night father nnd mother came to see 
me, and they was frightennd to soe me chuck- 
ing my brother about ; and she calls out, * Oh, 
don't do that! youll lirenk his back.' The 
people kept hollaring out, * Turn that woman 
out ! ' but she answers, * They are my sons — 
stop 'em !' When I bent myself back'ards she 
calls out, < Lord ! mind your bones.' 

" After this I noticed that my other brother, 
Sam, was a capital hand at jumping over the 
chairs and tables. He was as active as a 
monkey ; indeed he plays monkeys now at the 
different ballets that comes out at the chief 
theatres. It struck me he would make a good 
tumbler, and sure enough he is a good one. 
I asked him, and he said he should ; and then 
he sec me perform, and he declared he would 
be one. He was at my uncle's then, as a 
carver and gilder. When I told father, says he, 
* Let 'em do as they hke, they'll get on.' I said 
to him one day, * Sam, let's see what you're like : 
so I stuck him up in his chair, and stuck his 
legs behind his head, and kept him like that 
for Ave minutes. His limbs bent beautiAil^ 
and he didn't want no cricking. 

**I should tell you, that before that he 
done this here. You've heard of Bdcer, the 
red man, as was performing at the Citf of 
London Theatre; well, Sam see the cut of 
him sitting in a chair with his legs folded* 
just like you fold your arms. So Sam pulls 
down one of the bills with the drawing on it» 
and he says, *I can do that,' and he goes 
home and practises fh)m the engraving till 
he was perfect. T^en he show^ me, and 
says I, *• That's the style ! it's beautifVd ! you'll 
do.' 

" Then we had two days' practice together, 
and we worked the double-tricks together. 
Then, I learned him style and grace, what I 
knowed myself; such as coming before an 
audience and making the obedience ; and by 
and by says I to him, * We'll come out at a 
theatre, and make a good bit of money.' 

"Well, we went to another exhibition, and 
we came out all three together, and our salary 
was twenty-five shillings a- week, and we was 
very successful. Then we got outside Peter's 
Theatre at Stepney fair, the last as ever 
was, for it's done away with now; we did 
very well then ; they give us twelve shil- 
lings a-day between us for three days. We 
did the acrobating and Risley business out- 
side the parade, and inside as well. Sam got 
on wonderful, for his mind was up to it, and 
he liked the work. I and my brothers can da 
as well as any one in this business, I dont 




GAEBET-MASTER; OE CHEAP FUENITUBE 5IAKEE- 

iFroK a Stitch.} 



LOXDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOB. 



07 



core who comes before us. I can do upwards 
!.'♦' oue hundred and twenty one ilifiVrent tricks 
iu tumbling, when I'm along with those little 
lrll«»ws. "VVe con do the hoops and glasses — 
putting a glass of beer on my forehead, and 
}:-.ing throui^h hoop?? double, and lying down 
»nd getting up again itithout spillhig it. Thon 
tlieres the bottle-sprite, and tiie short stilts, 
&nd globo running and globe dancing, and 
chair tricks ; perform with the chairs ; and the 
p.<le trick — laperche — iiith two boys, not one 
miDd you. 

•• We've been continuing ever since at this 
EiJiy business. I lay dtjwii on a cari)ot, and 
ilirow then summersets from feet to feet. I 
tell vi>u what the music plnys to it, — it's the 
nilway overtime, and it begins now and then 
quicker and quicker, till I throw them fast as 
bghtniug. Sam does about fifty-four or fifty- 
five of these summersets one after another, 
aailJohny does about twenty-five, because he's 
littler. Then there's standing upright, and 
staud 'em one in one hand and one on the 
other. Then I throws them up iu summersets, 
and catch 'em on my pahu, and then I chuck 
Vm on the grormd. 

-The art with me lying on the ground is 
that it takes the strength, and the sight to see 
tiiai I catch 'em properly ; for if I missed, they 
mi^ht break their necks. The audience fancies 
that it's most with them tumbling, but every 
thing depends upon me catching them pro- 
perir. Every time they jump, I have to give 
*em a jtirk, and iwca. 'em properly. It's almost 
as much work as if I was doing it myself. 
When they learn at first, they do it on a soft 
ground, to as not to hurt theirselvcs. It don't 
make the blood come to the head lying down 
so long on my back — only at first. 

" Tve done the Ilisley business first at peimy 
exhibitions, an«l after that I went to fairs; then 
I went r«jund the country with a booth — a 
man named ^lanly it was ; but we dropped 
that, 'cos my little brother was knocked up, 
f -r it was too hard work for the little fellow 
building up and taking down the booth some- 
thnes twice in a-day, and then going off" twenty 
miles further on to another fair, and building 
up again the next dny. Then we went pitch- 
ing about in the main streets of the towns in 
tic country. Then 1 always had a dram and 
pipes. As soon as a ci-owd collected I'd say, 
'Gentlemen, I'm from the principal theatres in 
London, and before 1 begin I must have five 
shillings in the ring.' Then we'd do some, 
tDii after that, when half was over, I'd say, 
' Now, gentlemen, the better part is to come, 
anil if you make it worth my while, I go on 
^'h this here entertainment;' then, perhaps, 
thi:-}''d give me two sliillings more. I've done 
l>ad and done good in the country. In one 
day I've taken two pounds five shillings, and 
itiany days we've not taken eight shillings, and 
there was four of us, me and my two brothers 
and the drummer, who had two-and-sixpence 
a-day, and a pot of beer besides. Take one 



week 'R'ith another we took regular twopoimds 
five shillings, and out of that I'd send from 
twenty to thirty shillings a-week home to my 
parents. Oh, I've been very good to my 
parents, and I've never missed it. I've been 
a wild boy too, imd yet I've always takon care 
of father and mother. They've had twehe in 
family and never a stain on their character, 
I nor never a key turned on them, but aio up- 
right and honourable people. 

** At a idace called Erenfurd in Norfolk — 
where there's such a lot of wild rabbits — we 
done so well, that we took a room and had bills 
printed and put out. We charged threepence 
each, and the room was crowded, for wo shared 
twenty-five shillings between us. When the 
people see'd me and my brothers come on 
dressed all in red, and tumble about, they actu- 
ally swore we were devils, and rushed out of 
the place ; so tliat, though there was a room fuU, 
there was only two stopped to see the perform- 
tmces. One old man called out, *0 wenches' 
' — tlicy call their wives wenches — 'come out, 
they be devils.' We came out with red faces 
and horns and red dresses, and away they 
went screaming. There was one woman 
.trampled on and a child knocked out of her 
arms. In some of these country towns they're 
shocking strict, and never having seen any- 
thing of the kind, they're scared directly. 

" About six months ago I went to Woolwich 
with the boys, and there was a chap that 
wanted to fight me, because I wouldn't go 
along with him. So, I says, *We won't have no 
fighting ; ' so I went along with him to Graves- 
end, and then we asked permission of the 
mayor, 'cos in country towns we often have to 
ask the mayor to let us go performing in the 
streets. There we done very well, taking 
twenty-five shillings in the day. Then we 
worked up by Chatham, and down to Heme- 
bay, and Ramsgate; and at Rarasgate we 
stopped a week, doing uncommon well on the 
sands, for the peo}de on the chairs would give 
sixi>ence and a shilling, and say it was very 
clever, and too clever to be in the streets. We 
did Margate next, and then Deal, and on to 
Dover by the boaL At Dover, the mayor 
wouldn't let us perform, and snid if he catchcd 
us in the streets he'd have us took up. We 
were very hard up. So I said to Sam, * You 
must go out one way and I and Johnny the 
other, and busk in the public-house.' Sam got 
eight shillings and sixpence and I four shil- 
lings. But I had a row with a sailor, and I 
was bruised and had to lay up. TVlien I was 
better we moved to Folkestone. There was 
the German soldiers there, and we did very 
weU. I went out one day with our carpet to a 
village close by, and some German officers 
made us perform, and gave us five shillings, 
and then we went the n)und of the beer-shops, 
and altogether we cleared five pounds before 
we finished tliat day. We also went up to the 
camp, where the tents was, and I asked tlie 
colonel to let me perform before the men, and 



98 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



he said, ' Well it ain't Qsaal, but yoa may if 
you like.' The officers we fotmd was so pleased 
they kept on giving us two-shilling pieces, 
and besides we had a lot of foreign coiQ, 
which we sold to a jeweller for ten shillings. 
" I worked my way on to Canterbury and 
Winchester, and then, by a deal, of persuasion 
I got permission to perform in the back-streets, 
and we done very weU. Then we went on to 
Southampton. There was a cattle fair, on — 
Celse> fair is, I think, the name of it; and 
then I joined another troupe of tumblei^and 
we worked the fair, and after that went oKto 
Southampton ; and when we began working on 
the Monday, there was another troupe work- 
ing as welL After we had pitched once or 
twice, this other troupe came and pitched 
opposition against us. I couldn't believe it 
at first, but when I see which was their lay, 
then says I, * Now I'll settle this.' We was here, 
as it was, and they came right on to us — there, 
as it may be. So it was our dinner-time, and 
we broke up and went off. After dinner we 
came out again, and pitched the carpet in a 
square, and they came close to us again, and 
as soon as they struck up, the people run 
away to see the new ones. So I said * I don't 
want to ii^iire them, but they shan't injure us.' 
So I walked right into the middle of their ring, 
and threw down the carpet, and says I, * Now, 
ladies and gentlemen, the best performance is 
the one that deserves best support, and 111 
show you what I can do.' I went to work 
with the boys, and was two hours doing all my 
tumbling tricks. They was regularly stunned. 
The silver and the balance covered ^e 
carpet right over, as much as it would hold. 
I think there was three pojunds. Then I 
says, * Now you've seen the tumbling, now see 
the perche.' They had a perche, too ; it was 
taller than mine ; but, as I told them, it was 
because I couldn't get no higher a one. So 
I went to work again, and cries I, *Now, both 
boys up ; ' though I had only stood one on up to 
that time, and had never tried two of 'em. 
Up they gets, and the first time they come 
over, but never hurt theirselves. It was new 
to me, you see. * Up again, lads,' says I ; and 
up they goes, and did it beautiftd. The 
people regular applauded, like at a theatre. 
Down came the money in a shower, and one 
gentleman took his hat round, and went col- 
lecting for us. Says I to this other school, 

* You tried to ii^jure us, and what have you 
got by it? I beat you in tumbling, and if you 
can match the perche, do it.' Then they says, 

* We didn't tiy to injure you; come and drink 
a gallon of beer.' So off we went, and the 
police told 'em to choose their side of the 
town and we would take ours. That settled 
the opposition, and we both done well. 

"I've done the Risley in the streets of 
London, more so than at theatres and con- 
certs. The stone paving don't hurt so much 
as you would think to lie down. We don't do 
it 



di£forence whatsumever in Bptinging off the 
stones. It pays very well at times, you 
know ; but we don't like to do it often, because 
afterwards they dont like to appreciate yon 
in concerts and theatres, and likewise penny 
exhibitions. 

" My brother Sam can jump like a frog, on 
his hands, through his legs, out of a one-pair 
window; and little Johnny throws out of a 
one-pair-of-8tairs window a back summerset. 

'* It's astonishing how free the bones get bj 
practice. My broUier Sam can dislocate his 
umbs and replace them again; and when 
sleeping in bed, I very often find him lying 
with his legs behind his neck. It's quite 
accidental, and done without knowing, and 
comes natural to him, fh>m being alwsya 
tumbling. Myself, I often in my dreams often 
frighten my wife by starting up and half 
throwing a summersault, fancying I'm at the 
theatre, and likewise I often lie with my heels 
against my head. 

'* We are the only family or persons going 
about the streets doing the Risley. I've 
travelled all through England, Scotland, and 
Wales, and I don't know anybody but our- 
selves. When we perform in the London 
theatres, which we do when we can get an 
engagement, we get six or seven poimds a- 
week between us. We've appeared at the 
Pa>'ilion two seasons running; likewise at 
the City of London, and the Standard, and 
also all the cheap concerts in London. Then 
we are called ' The Sprites ' by the Nelson 
family will appear ; • or, The Sprites of Jupiter;' 
or,'Sons of Cerea;' or,* Air-climbers of Arabia!' 

** Taking all the year round, I dare say my 
income comes to about thirty-five shillings or 
two pounds, and out' of that I have to find 
dresses.* 

Tub STROMa Man. 

** I HIVE been in the profession for about thir- 
teen years, and I am thirty-two next birthday. 
Excepting four years that I was at sea, I've 
been solely by the profession. I'm what is 
termed a strong man, and perform feats of 
strength and posturing. What is meant by 
posturing is the distortion of the limbs, such 
as doing the splits, and putting your leg over 
your head and pulling it down your bock, a 
skipping over your leg, and such-Uke business. 
Tumbling is different from, posturing, and 
means throwing summersets and walking on 
your hands; and acrobating means the two 
together, with mounting three stories high, 
and balancing each other. These are the 
definitions I make. 

** I was nineteen before I did anything of any 
note at all, and got what I call a living; salary. 
Long before that I had been trying tiie busi- 
ness, going in and out of these f^e concerts, 
and trying my hand at it, fancying I was very 
clever, but disgusting the audience, for they 



when it's muddy. The boys finds no I are mostly dulfers at these f^ree concerts; 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



90 



rbich is clearly the case, for they only do it 
for a pint every now and then, and depend 
upon passing the hat round after their per- 
formance. I never got mach at collections, so 
I mast have been a duffer. 

** My father is an architect and builder, and 
his income now is never less than a thousand 
ijear. Like a fool, I wouldn't go into his 
office : I wish I had. I preferred going to sea. 
I was always hankering after first one vessel 
and then another. I used to be fond of going 
down to the docks, and such-hke, and looking 
a the vessels. Pd talk with the sailors about 
foreign countries, and such-like, and my am- 
bition was to be a sailor. I was the scabby 
sheep of the family, and I've been punished 
for it. I never went into the governor's 
office ; but when I was about fourteen I was 
put trj a stonemason, for I thought I should 
like to be a carver, or something of that sort. 
I was two years there, and I should have done 
very well if I had stayed, for I earned a 
guinea o-wcek when I left. 
' " Before I went to the stonemason I was at 
the Victoria, taking checks — when there was 
aoT. I had an uncle there who kept the saloon 
there. I was always very partial to going to 
the theatre, for all our people are chapel peo- 
ple, and that I never liked. My father's par- 
bur is always smothered with ministers, and 
mine with tumblers, and that's the difference. 
I Qsed to go and see my uncle at the Yic, so 
•s to get to the theatre for nothing. I wasn't 
paid fbr taking the checks, but I knew the 
eheck-taker, and he'd ask me to help him, and 
I was too glad to get inside a theatre to refuse 
the job. They were doing dreadful business. 
It was under Levi, and before Glossop's time. 
It was before the glass curtain come out. The 
glass curtain was a splendid thing. It went 
straight up, never wound. You can even now 
see where the roof was highered to receive it. 
Levi has got the Garrick now. They say he's 
Bot doing much. 

** The first thing I did was at a little beer- 
shop, comer of Southwark-bridge-road and 
Union -street. I had seen Herbert do the 
Grecian statues at the Vic, in * Hercules, 
King of Clubs,' and it struck me I could do 
'em. So I knew this beer- shop, and I bought 
hilf-a-crown's worth of tickets to be allowed 
to do these statues. It was on a boxing-night, 
I remember. I did them, but tliey were 
dreadful bad. The people did certainly ap- 
plaud, but what for, I don't know, for I kept 
shaking and wabbling so, that my marble 
statue was rather ricketty; and there was a 
strong man in the room, who had been per- 
forming them, and he came up to me and said 
that I was a complete duffer, and that I knew 
nothing about it at all. So I replied, that he 
knew nothing about his feats of strength, and 
that I'd go and beat him. So I set to work at 
it ; for I was determined to lick him. I got 
five quarter-of-hundred weights, and used to 
practice throwing them at a friend's back-yard 



in the Waterloo-road. I used to make myself 
all over mud at it, besides having a knock of 
the head sometimes. At last I got perfect 
chucking the quarter hundred, and then I tied 
a fourteen pound weight on to them, and at 
last I got up half-hundreds. I learnt to hold 
up one of them at arm's length, and even tlien 
I was obliged to push it up with the other 
hand. I idso threw them over my head, as 
well as catching them by the ring. 

"I went to this beer-shop as soon as I 
could do, and came out. I wasn't so good as 
he was at lifting, but that was all he could do ; 
and I did posturing with the weights as well, 
and that licked him. He was awfully jealous, 
and I had been revenged. I had learnt to do 
a split, holding a half-hundred in my teeth, 
and rising with it, ^vithout touching the 
ground with my hands. Now I can li^ five, 
for I've had more practice. I had tremendous 
success at this beer-shop. 

** It hurt me awftilly when I learnt to do the 
split with the weight on my teeth. It strained 
me all to pieces. I couldn't put my heels to 
the ground not nicely, for it physicked my 
thighs dreadful. When I was hot I didn't 
feel it; but as I cooled, I was cramped all to 
bits. It took me nine months before I could 
do it without feeling any pain. 

" Another thing I learnt to do at this beer- 
shop was, to break the stone on the chest. 
This man used to do it as well, only in a very 
shght way — with thin bits and a cobbler's 
hammer. Now mine is regular flagstones. 
I've seen as many as twenty women faint 
seeing me do it. At this beer-shop, when I first 
did it, the stone weiglied about three quarters 
of a hundred, and was an inch thick. I laid 
down on the ground, and the stone was put on 
my chest, and a man with a sledge hammer, 
twenty-eight pounds weight, struck it and 
smashed it. The way it is done is this. You 
rest on your heels and hands and throw your 
chest up. There you are, like a stool, i^ith 
the weight on you. When you see the blow 
coming, you have to give, or it would knock 
you all to bits. 

" When I was learning to do this, 1 prac- 
tised for nine months. I got a friend of mine 
to hit the stone. One day I cut my chest 
open doing it. I wasn't paying attention to 
the stone, and never noticed that it was hol- 
low ; so then when the blow came down, the 
sharp edges of the stone, from my having 
nothing but a fleshing suit on, cut right into 
the flesh, and made two deep incisions. I hod 
to leave it off for about a month. Strange 
to say, this stone-breaking never hurt my 
chest or my breathing ; I rather think it has 
done me good, for I'm strong and hearty, and 
never have illness of any sort. 

" The first time I done it I was dreadful 
frightened. I knew if I didn't stop still I 
should have my brains knocked out, pretty 
well. When I saw the blow coming I trembled 
a good bit, but I kept still as I was able. It 



100 



£ONI>OIf LABOUR AND THE LONDOIT POOR. 



WAS a hard blow, Ibr it broke fhe bit of Toric- 
shire paving, about an inch thick, into about 
sixty pieces. 

" I got very hard up whilst I was perform- 
ing at this beer-shop. I had run away from 
home, and the performances were only two 
nights a-week, and brought me in about six 
shillings. I wasn't engaged anywhere else. 
One night, a Mr. Bmanuel, who had a benefit 
at the Salmon Saloon, Union-street, asked mc 
to appear at his benefit. He hod never seen 
me, but only heard of my performances. I 
agreed to go, and he got out the bills, and 

christened me Signer C ; and he hod 

drawings mfuie of the most extravagant kind, 
with me holding' my arms out with about ten 
fifty-six- pound weights hanging to them by 
the rings. Ho had the weights, hamraerH, 
and a tremen<ious big stone chained outside 
the door, and there us«d to bo mobs of people 
there all day long looking at it 

*' This was the first success I made. Mr. 
Emanuel gave five shillings for the stone, and 
had it brought up to the saloon by two horses 
in a cart to make a sensation. It weighed 
fVom four to five hundred weight I think I 
had such a thing as five men to lift it up 
for me. 

" I had forgotten all about this engagement^ 
and I was at the coffee-house where I lodged. 
The fact was, I was in rags, and so shabby I 
didn't like to go, and if he hadn't come to 
fetch me I should not have gone. He drove 
up in his chaise on the night in question to 

this coffee-shop, and he says, * Signer C , 

make haste ; go and change your clothes, and 
come along.' I didn't know at first he was 
speaking to me, for it was the first time I had 

been Signer C . Then I told him I had 

got my best suit on, though it was very ragged , 
and no mistake about it for I remember there 
was a good hole at each elbow. He seemed 
astonished, and at last proposed that I should 
wear his great-coat ; but I wouldn't, because, 
as I told him, his coat would be as well 
known at the saloon as he himself vma, and 
tlmt it didn't suit me to be seen in another's 
clothes. So he took me just as I was. When 
we got there, the landlady was regularly flab- 
bergastered to see a ragged fellow like me 
come to be star of the night. She'd hardly 
speak to me. 

•' There was a tremendous house, and they 
had turned above a hundred away. When I 
got into the saloon, Emanuel says, 'Wbat'U 
you have to drink ?' I said, ' Some brandy ; ' 
but my landlord of the coffee-house, who had 
come unbeknown to me, he grumbles out, 
* Ask him what he'll have to eat, for he's had 
nothing since the slice of bread-and-butter for 
breakfast.' I trod on his toe, and 8a3rs, 
*Keep quiet, you fool!' Emanuel behaved 
like a regular brick, and no mihtake. He 
paid for the supper and everything. I was 
regularly ashamed when the landlord let it 
out though. That supper put life into me, | 



for it almost had the same eflbot npon me as 
drink. 

** It soon got whispered about in the saloon 
that I was the strong man, and everybody got 
handing me their glasses ; so I was regularly 
tipsy when it was time to go on, and they had 
put me off to the last on purpose to draw the 
people and keep them there drinking. 

" I had a regular success. When the women 
saw the five men put the stone on my diest, 
they all of them called out, * Don't! don't!' 
It was a block like a curb, about a foot thidc," 
and about a four feet six inches long. I went 
with Bmanuel to buy it I had never tried 
such a big one before, It didn't feel so heavy 
on the diest for, you see, you've got such out- 
and-out good support on your hands and 
heels. I've actually seen one man raise a 
stone and another a waggon. If s the purchase 
done it I've lifted up a cart-horse right off 
his legs. 

** The stone broke after six blows with a 
twenty-eight pomid sledge-hammer. Then 
you should have heard the applause. I thought 
it would never give over. It smashed all to 
atoms, just like glass, and there was the 
people taking away the bits to keep as a rs* 
membrance. 

''As I went out the landlady asked me tt> 
have a bottle of soda-water. The landlady 
was frightened, and told me she had felt sure 
I should be killed. I was the second that 
ever done stone-breaking in England or 
abroad, and I'm the first that ever did such a 
big one. The landlady was so alarmed that 
she wouldn't engage me, for she said I must be 
killed one of the nights. Her behaviour waa 
rather different as I went out to when I 
came in. 

" I, of courne, didn't go on in my rags. I 
had a first-rate stage dress. 

" After this grand appearance I got engaged 
at Gravesend fair by Middleton, and there I 
had eight sliilliugs a-dny, and I stopped with 
him three weeks over the fair. I used to do 
my performances outside on the parade, never 
inside. I haii to do the stone -breaking about 
nine or ten times a-day. They were middling 
stones, some larger and some smaller, and the 
smaller ones about half-a-hundrcd weight, I 
suppose. Any man might bring his stone and 
hammer, and break it himself. The one who 
struck was generally chosen from the crowd ; 
the biggest chap they could find. I've heard 
'em say to me, * Now, old chap, I'll smash you 
all to bits; so look out!' The fact is, the 
harder they strike the better for me, for it 
smashes it at once, and don't keep the people 
in suspense. 

" It was at Gravesend that I met with my 
second and last accident With the cutting oif 
the chest, it is the only one I ever had. The 
feller who come up to break the stone was 
half tipsy and missed his aim, and obliged me 
by hitting my finger instead of the stone. I 
said to bun, * Mind what yon are doing,' but 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOH. 



101 



I popped my hand behind me, and when I 
got 19 X eonldn't make out what the people 
m oyisg oat about, till I looked round at 
Bj back and then I was smothered in blood. 
Middleton said, *Good Godl what's the 
Batterer' and I told him I was hit on the finger. 
When the cry was givan of 'All in to begin,' I 
vent into a booth doae by and had some 
ItaoG^, and got a doctor to strap up the 
flngezvand then I went on witii the parade 
bo^nesa jnat the same, it didn't pain me 
nothing like what I should have thought. It 
wia too hard a knock to jwin me much. The 
only time I felt it was when the doctor dressed 
it, iiar it gare me pepper taking the plaster off. 

"I was at Gravesend some time, and I went 
to work again stone>masoning, and I had a 
guinea a- week, and in the evening I used to 
porfbrm at the Kosc Inn. I did just as I liked 
there. I never cliarged 'em anything. I 
lived in the house and they never charged mc 
iBytbinfr. It was a first-rate house. If I 
vaated five shillings Td get it from the land- 
luid. I was there about eleven months, and 
ill that time I Uved there and paid nothing. 
I had a benefit there, and tliey wouldn't even 
durge me for printing the bills, or cords, or 
tnything. It was (piite a clear benefit^ and 
evez>' penny taken at the doors was givon to 
ma. I chtirged a shilling adniiitance, and tlie 
room wab cmwded, and they was even on the 
aairs standing tip-toe to look at me. I wanted 
some weights, and usked a butcher to lend 'em 
to me, and he says, *■ Lend 'cm to you! aye, take 
the machine and all if it'll serve you.' I was 
a great favourite, as you may guess. 

'^ After Gravesend I come up to London, and 
vent and played the monkey at the Bower 
Saloon. It was tho first time I had done it. 
There was all the monkey business, jumping 
oier tables and chairs, and all mischievous 
thmgs ; and there was climbing up trees, and 
ip two perpendicular ropes. I was dressed 
in a monkey's dress ; it's made of some of 
their hearth-rugs ; and my face was painted.' 
h's very difficult to paint a monkey's face. 
Tve a great knack tliat way, and can always 
BUnage anything of that sort. 

** From the Bower I went on to Portsmouth. 
Td got hard up again, for I'd been idle for 
three months, for I couldn't get any money, 
nd I never appear under price. I walked all 
die way to Portsmouth, carrying a half-bun- 
Jnd weight, besides my dress, oU tlie way ; I 
played at the top-rooms on the road. I did 
pretty middling, earned my living on tho road, 
•bout two shillings a-day. When I got to 
Poitsmouth I did get a job, and a good job it 
WIS, only one shilling and sixpence a-night ; 
hot I thought it better to do that than nothing. 
I only did comic singing, and I only knew two 
Mogs, but I set to f|nd learnt a lot. I am very 
eonrtgeoufl, and if I can't get my money one 
wiy, fwill another. With us, if you've got a 
shHling, you're a fool if you spend that before 
70a have another. I stopped at this public- 



house fbr two months, and then a man who 
came from Portsea, a town dose by, oame 
one night, and he asked me what I was doing. 
He had heard of what I could do, and he 
offered me two pounds a-week to go with him 
and do the stanong business. He kept the Star 
Inn at Portsea. I stopped there such a thing 
as two years, and I did welL I had great sue- 
cess, for the place was cramm'd every night. 
For my benefit, Major Wyatt and Captain 
HoUoway gave me their bespeak, and permis- 
sion for the men to come. The admission was 
sixpence. Half tlie regiment marched down, 
and there was no room for the public. I was 
on the stage for two huurs during my perform- 
ances. I was tired, and fainted away as dead 
as a hammer oiler the curtain feU. 

** Among other things I announced that I 
should, whilst suspended from the ceiling, lift 
a horse. I had this horse paraded about the 
towii for a week before my night. There was 
such a house that numbers of people was 
turned away, and a comic singer who was per- 
forming at a house opposite, he put out an 
announcement that he too would lift a horse, 
and when the time come he brought on a 
cloUies -horse. 

" The way I did the horse was this : I was 
hanging by my ankles, and the horse was on 
a kiudofpLufunn under me. I had two sheets 
rolled up and tied round the horse like belly- 
bands, and then I passed my arms through 
them and strained him up. I didn't keep bun 
long in the air, only just lifted him off his 
legs. In the midst of it the bandage got off 
his eyes, and then, what with tho music and 
the applauding, the poor brute got frightened 
and begun plunging. I couldn't manage him 
at all whilst he was kicking. He got his two 
hind legs over tho orchestra and knocked all 
the fioat-lights out. They kept roaring, * Bring 
him out ! bring him out ! ' as if they thought I 
was going to put him under my arm — a Uiun- 
dering big brute. I was afraid he'd crack his 
knees, and I should have to pay for him. The 
fiddler was rather uneasy, I con tell you, and 
the people began shifting about. I was frights 
ened, and so I managed to pop port of the 
sheet over his head, and then I gave a tremen- 
dous strain and brought him bacOc again. 

" How tlie idea of lifting a horse ever came 
into my head, I don't know. It came in a 
minute ; I hod never tried it before. I knew 
I should have a tremendous purchase. The 
fact is, I had intended to do a swindle by 
having lines passed down my dress, and for 
somebody behind to pull the ropes and help 
me. The town was in an uproar when I an- 
nounced I should do it 

** It was at my benefit that I first broke stones 
with my fist. I don't know whose original 
notion it was. I was not the first ; there's a 
trick in it. It's done this way : anybody can 
do it. You take a cobbler's lapstone, and it's 
put on a half-hundred weight; you must hold 
it half an in ^ h above, and then the concnssion 



IM 



LQKIHiN LABOUR AND THE LOKDOIT 



then a fellow must be no good if he doesn't 
pay for the third when it comes, and the 
day's money don't nm to it, and you're in a 
hole.- 

The Stbeet Juooleb. 

Thx juggler fh)m whom 1 reoehred the follow- 
ing account, was spoken of by his companions 
and friends as ** one of the deyerest that ever 
came out" He was at this time performing 
in the evening at one of the»chief saloons on 
the other side of the water. 

He certainly appears to ^ave been sucoess- 
ftil enough when he first appeared in the 
streets, and the way in which he squandered 
the amount of money ho then made w a con- 
stant source of misexy to him, for he kept ex- 
claiming in the midst of his narmtive, ** Ah ! 
I might have been a gentleman now, if I 
hadn't been the fool I was then." 

As a proof of his talents and success he 
assured me, that when Bamo Samee first came 
out, he not only learned how to do all the In- 
dian's tricks, but also did tliem so dexterously, 
that when travelling **Samee has often paid 
him ten shillings not to perfonn in the same 
town with him." 

He was a short man, with iron-grey hair, 
which had been shaved high upon the temples 
to allow him to assume iho Indian costume. 
The skin of the face was curiously loose, and 
formed deep lines about the chin, whilst in 
the cheeks there were dimples, or rather 
hollows, almost as deep as tiiose on a sofd 
cushion. He had a singular look, from his 
eyebrows and eyes being so black. 

His hands were small and delicate, and 
when he took up anything, he did it as if he 
were lifting the cup with the ball under it 

" I'm a juggler," he said. " but I don't know 
if that's the right term, for some people call 
conjurers jugglers ; but it's wrong. When I 
was in Ireland they called me a " mannlist," 
and it was a gentleman wrote the bill out 
for me. The dififeronce I makes between 
colouring and juggling is, one's deeei\'ing to 
the eye and the other's pleasing to the eye 
— yes, that's it — it's dexterity. 

" I dare say I've been at juggling 40 years, 
for I was between 14 and 15 when I begun, 
and I'm 50 now. I remember Hamo Samee 
and all the first process of the art. He was 
the first as ever I knew, and very good indeed ; 
there was no otlier to oppose him, and he 
must have been good then. I suppose I'm 
the oldest juggler alive. 

" My father was a whitesmith, and kept a 
shop in the Waterloo-road, and I ran away 
tram him. There was a man of the name of 
Humphreyskeptariding-schoolintheWaterloo- 
road (there was very few houses there then, 
only brick-fields — aye, what is the Victoria 
theatre now was then a pin-factory and a 
hatter's; it wasn't opened for performance 
then), and I used to. go to this riding-school 
and practise tumbling when the horse-dung 



was thrown out, tar X was voy 'ambii 
be a tnmbler. When I used to go 
here dung-heap, som etim as father won 
me to blow the fire or strike for fa: 
he'd come after me and catch me tu 
and take off his apron and wallop mi 
all the way home; and the leather strix 
to hurt, I can tell you. 

^I first went to work at the pin- 
when* the Coburg's built now, and < 
tumbling then. Then I went to a ha 
Oakley-street, and there I took to ti 
again, and usod to get practising on tl 
packs (they made the hats then out 
stuff and h ore-skins, and such-like, i 
couldn't get a hat then imder 25«.) ; I 
get my heart away from tumbling all 1 
I was there, for it was set on it 1 
begin tumbling when I went out .on < 
doing hnnd-spring, and starts-up (that 
on your back and throwing yourself t 
roimd-alls (that's throwing yourself ba 
on to your hands and back again to yo' 
and walking on my hands. I never 
of the men see me practise. I had t 
the warehouse up, and all the wool wu 
and I used to have a go to myself 
morning before they was up. 

*^ The iray I got into my profesaiona 
was this: I used to have to go and 
men's beer, for I was kept for that ^ 
I had to go to the men's homes to fet 
breakfasts, and the dinners and 1 
wish I had such a place now. The in 
me a shilling a-week, and there was t 
them when in full work, and the maal 
me 45. Qd. Besides that they never 
on a Monday, but I was told to feU 
food just the same, so that their wives a 
know; and I had all their twelve 
breakfasts, and so on. I kept abont ai 
boys there, and anybody might have the 
that liked, for I've sometimes put 'em c 
for somebody to find. 

**I was one day going to fetch thi 
beer when I meets another boy, and 1 
* You can't walk on your hands.' * Cant 
I, and 1 puts down tlie cans and off I 
and walked on my hands from one en 
stieet to the other, prettj- nigh. Mr. 5 
the rider, one of the oldest riders t 
(before Dur row's time, for Duorow 
'prentice of his, and he allowed Sand 
a-week for all his lifetime), was pas 
and he see me walking on my Iiands, 
come up and snys, * My boy, where 
l>eloug to ?' and I answers, * My fathc 
then he says, *Do you think he'd 
come along with me?' I told him I'^ 
ask ; and I ran off, but never ^ 
father — you'll understand — and th( 
minute or ti^o I came back and said, 
says yes, I may go when I thinks ] 
and then Mr. Sanders took me to 
fields, and there was a gig, and he di 
down to Ware, in Hertfordshire. 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOH. 



105 



n 



*Yoammj as well soj this here. The dr- 
coMt at that time wasn't as they are now. 
Tbey used to call it in the profession moulding, 
aid the public termed it mountebanking. 
Moulding was making a ring in a field, for 
thoe was no booths then, and it comes from 
£gging up the mould to make it soft for the 
bocses' feet. There was no charge for seeing 
the ezhibitiun, for it was in a field open to 
the public ; but it was worked in this way : 
these was prizes giren away, and the tickets 
to the lottery were Is. each, and most of the 
people bought 'em, though they weren't ob- 
figaled to do so. Sometimes the prizes would 
he a fiTe-pound note, or a silver watch, 
Miybe, or a sack of flour, or a pig. They used 
t»take the tickets round in a hat, and ever}*- 
body saw what they drawed. They was all 
ywei peihaps a penny ring — but there was 
BO blanks. It was the last night that paid 
heat The first and second nights Sanders 
voald giye them a first-rate prize ; but when 
the last night came, then a half-crown article 
laa the highest he'd give away, and that 
helped to draw up. I've know'd him give 4/. or 
iL away, when he'd not taken 2/. Mr. Sanders 
pat me to tumbling in the ring. I could tumble 
w^ before I went with him, for I'd practised 
€Q this dung-heap, and in this hatter's shop. 
I beat all his apprentices wliat he had. He 
tidnt give me anything a- week, only my keep, 
hot I was glad to run away and be a showman. 
I was Texy sncoessful in the riDg-tumbling, and 
fnm that I got to be clever on the stilts and on 
the elack-rope, or, as they call it in the pro- 
kmaQf the waulting-rope. "When I was ragged 
I lead to mn home again and get some clothes. 
tm BUBiy a time scon him burst out into 
tem to see me come home so ragged. * Ah,' 
Wdasy, 'where have you been now? — tum- 
Vfing, I suppose.' I'd answer, ' Yes, father ; ' 
lad then he'd say, * Ah, your tumbling will 
I hoBg yon to the gallows.' I'd stop with him 
' tin he gave me some fresh clothes, and then 
I Id holt again. You see I liked it. I'd go and 
4e it (or nothing. Now I dread it ; but it's 
= too late, unfortunately. 

" I ran away from Sanders at last, and went 

baek to father. One night I went to the 

theatoe, and there I see Ramo Samee doing his 

j jecgUng, and in a minute I forgot all about 

' the tomhling, and only wanted to do as he did. 

Directly I got home I got two of the plates, 

ttd went into a back-room and began prac 

tinog, making it turn round on the top of a 

ttich. I broke nearly all the plates in the 

liOQse doing this — that is, what I didn't break 

I I cracked. I broke the entire set of a dozen 

I ptites, and yet couldn't do it ^Vhen mother 

' toond all her plates cracked, she said, *lt'8 

thtt boy;' and I had a good hiding. Then 1 

Ftt on my Sunday suit and bolted away again. 

• lahrays bolted in my best clothes. I then 

j Vtti about tumbling in the public-houses, till I 

I ^ got money enough to have a tin plate made 

^ a deep rim, and with this tin plate I learnt 



it, so thati could afterwards do it with a crockery 
one. I kept on my tumbling till I got a set of 
wooden baUs turned, and I stuck brass coffin- 
nails all over them, ao that they looked like 
metal when they was up; and I began teach- 
ing myself to chuck them. It took a long time 
learning it, but I was fond of it, and deter- 
mined to do it I was doing pretty well with 
my tumbling, making perhaps my 9s, or 4j. 
a-night^ so I was pretty well off. Then I got 
some tin knives made, and leamt to throw 
them: and I bought some iron rings, and 
bound them with red and blue tape, to make 
them look handsome ; and I leamt to toss tliem 
the same as the bolls. I practised balancing 
pipes, too. Phery time I went into a public 
house I'd take a pipe away, so it didn't cost me 
anything. I dare say I was a twelvemonth 
before I could juggle well. When I could 
throw the three balls middling tidy I used to do 
them on the stilts, and that was more than ever 
a man attempted in them days ; and yet I was 
only sixteen or seventeen years of age. I must 
have been summut then, for I went to Oxford 
fair, and there I was on my stilts, chuckuig my 
balls in the public streets, and a gentleman 
came up to me and asked me if I'd take an en- 
gagement, and I said * Yes, if it was a good 
un* — for I was taking money like smoke ; and 
he agreed to give me a pound a-day during the 
fair; it was a week fair. I had so much 
money, I didn't know what to do with it. ^ I 
actually went and bought a silk neckerchief 
for every day in the week, and flash boots, and 
caps, and everything I could see, for I never had 
so much money as in them days. The master, 
too, mode his share out of me, for he took 
money like dirt 

" From Oxford I worked my way over to Ire- 
land. I had got my hand into juggling now, 
but I kept on with my old apparatus, though 
I bought a new set in Dublin. I used to have 
a bag and bit of carpet, and perform in streets. 
I had an Indian's drc'ss made, with a long 
horse-hair tail down my back, and white bag- 
trousers, trimmed with red, like a Turk's, tied 
right roimd at the ankles, and a flesh-coloured 
skull-cap. My coat was what is called a 
Turkish fly, in red velvet, cut off like a waist- 
coat, with a peak before and behind. I was a 
regular swell, and called myself the Indian 
Juggler. I used to perform in the barracks 
twice a-day, morning and evening. I used to 
make a heap of money. I have taken, in one 
pitch, more than a pound. I dare say I've 
taken 91, a-day, and sometimes more indeed ; 
I've saved a waggon and a booth there, — 
a very nice one, — and the waggon cost mo 
14/. second-hand; one of Vickiy's it was, a 
wild-beast waggon. I dare say I was six 
months in Dublin, doing first-rate. My per- 
formances was just the same then as they is 
now ; only I walked on stilts, and they was 
new then, and did the business. I was the 
first man ever seed m Ireland, either juggling 
or on the stilts. 



>o. I.Xl. 



R 



106 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



** I had a drain and pipes, and I nsed to play 
them myself. I played any tmie, — anythink, 
just what I could think of, to draw the crowd 
together; then I'd moimt the stilts and do 
what I called * a drunken fh)lic,' with a bot- 
tle in my fcandf tumbling about and pretending 
to be drmik. Then I'd chuck the balls a. 
bout, and the knives, and the rings, and twirl 
the plate. I wound ttp with the ball, throwing 
it in the air and catching it in a cup. I didnt 
do any balancing pipes on my nose, not 
whilst on the stilts. 

. ** I used to go out one day on the stilts 
and one on the ground, to do the balancing. 
I'd balance pipes, straws, peacocks' feathers, 
and the twirling plate. 

** It took me a long time learning to catch 
the ball in the cup. I practised in the fields 
or streets; anywhere. I began by just 
throwing the ball a yard or two in the air, and 
then went on gradually. The first I see do 
the ball was a man of the name of Dussang, 
who came over with Ramo Samee. It's a 
very dangerous feat, and even now I'm never 
safe of it, for the least wind will blow it to the 
outside, and spoil the aim. I broke my nose 
at Derby races. A boy ran across the ring, 
and the ball, which weighs a quarter of a 
pound, was coming right on him, and would 
have follen on his head, and perhaps killed 
him, and I ran forward to save him, and 
couldnt take my aim proper, and it fell on 
mv nose, and broke it. It bled awftdly, and 
it kept on for near a month. There happened 
to be a doctor looking on, and he came and 
plastered it up ; and then I chucked the ball 
up again, (for I didn't care what I did in them 
days), and the strain of its coming down 
made it burst out again. They actually gived 
me money not to tlu'ow the bidl up any more. 
I got near a sovereign, in silver, give me from 
the Grand Stand, for that accident. 

•* At Newcastle I met with another accident 
with throwing the ball. It came down on 
my head, and it regularly stunned me, so that 
I fell dowui It swelled up, and every minute 
got bigger, till I a'most thought I had a dou- 
ble heM, for it felt so heavy I could scarce 
hold it up. I was obliged to knock off work 
for a fortnight. 

^ In Ireland I nsed to make the people 
laugh, to throw up raw potatoes and let them 
come down on my naked forehead and smash. 
People give more money when they laugh. 
No, it never hurt my forehead, it's got har- 
dened ; nor I never suffered fiom headaches 
when I was practicing. 

** As you catch the ball in the cup, you are 
obliged to give, you know, and bend to it, 
or it would knock the brains out of you pretty 
well. I never heard of a man killing himself 
with the ball, and iVe only had two accidents. 

'< I got married in Ireland, and then I started 
off wiSi the booth and waggon, and she used 
to dance, and I'd juggle and balance. We 
went to the fairs, but it didn't answer, and 



we lost all ; for my wife turned out a very bad 
sort of woman. She's dead now, through 
drink. I went to the Isle of Man from Ii«« 
land ; I had practised my wife in the stilti* 
and learnt her how to use them, and we dia 
well there. They never see such a thing in 
their lives, and we took money like dirL 
They christened us the ' Manx Giants.' If my 
wife had been like my present one, I should 
be a made gentleman by this time ; but she 
drank away my booth, and waggon, and hone, 
and all. 

'* I saved up about 20/. in the Isle of Man 7 
and from there we went to Scotland, and thero 
my wife died, — through drink. That tcK>k a- 
way all the money I had saved. Wtf didnt 
do much in Scotland, only in one particular 
town, — that's Edinburgh, — on New-year% 
day. We took a good deal of money, 21. I 
think; and we carried coppers about in • 
stocking with me. 

** I travelled about in England and Wales 
when I married my second wife. She's • 
strong woman, and lifts 700 lbs. by the hair 
of her head. 

•* When I got back to London I hadnt %■ 
shilling in my pocket, thqagh my wife wb» 
very eareftil of me ; but times got bad, and 
what not. We got a situation at 12«. a day, 
and all collections, at Stepney fair, whidi 
would sometimes come to a pound, and at 
others 30s. ; for collections is better than sa- 
lary any days : that set us up in a litUe house, 
which we've got now. 

«* I'm too old now to go out regularly in the 
streets. It tires me too much, if I have to 1^ 

r;ar at a penny theatre in the evening. Whctt 
do go out in the streets, I carry a mahogaqy 
box with me, to put my things out in. IN© 
got three sets of things now, knives, balliiy 
and cups. In fact, I never was so well off ia 
apparatus as now ; and many of them have 
been given to me as presents, by friends M 
have gi'n over performing. Knives, and bal]% 
and all, are very handsome. The balls, some 
a pound, and some 2 lbs. weight, and the 
knives about 1 4 lbs. 

** When I'm out performing, I get into all 
the open places as I can. I goes up the Com- 
mercial-road and pitches at the Mile>end.gatfl^ 
or^ about Tower-lull, or such-like. I'm widl 
known in London, and the police knows me so 
well they very seldom interfere with me» 
Sometimes they say, * That's not allowed, yon 
know, old man I " and I say, *■ I shan't be above 
two or three minutes,' and they say, * Make 
haste, then !" and then I go on with the per- 
formance. 

"I think I'm the cleverest juggler out. I 
can do the pagoda, or the canopy as some calls 
it ; that is a thing like a parasol balanced bj 
the handle on my nose, and the sides held op 
by other sticks, and then with a pea-shooter I 
blow away the supports. I also do what te 
called *the birds and bush,' which is some- 
thing of the same, only you knock off the birdi 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



107 



'vith m pea-shooter. The birds is only made 
<tf eork, bat it's rery difficult, because you haye 
to take your balance agin eyeiy bird as falls ; 
besides, yon most be careftil the birds dont 
itll in yonr eyes, or it woold take away your 
sight and spoil the balance. The birds at 
kitk are hardest to knock off, because you have 
to bend back, and at the same time mind you 
doDt topple the tree off. 

''These are the only feats we perform in 
tttlancing, and the juggUng is the same now 
as ever it was, for there ain't been no improve- 
ments Gvi the old style as I ever heerd on ; and 
I suppose balls and knives and rings will last 
iat a hundred years to come yet 

*^I flod my wife are now engaged at the 
*Templeof Mystery' in Old Street-road, and 
it ssys on the bills that they are ' at present 
exhibiting the following new and interesting 
tilent,' and then they caUs me * The Renowned 
Indian Juggler, performing his extraordinary 
Feats with Cups, Balls, Daggers, Plates, 
Xnives, Rings, Balancing, <S:c. &c: 

** After the juggling I generally has to do 
ecsguring. I does what they call *■ the pile of 
Bsgs,' that is, putting four halfpence on a 
hoffB cap, and making them disappear when I 
taj • Presto, fly ! ' Then there's the empty 
cops, and making 'taters come under 'em, or 
there's bringing a cabbage into a empty hat 
There's also making a shilling pass from a 
gentleman's hand into a nest of boxes, and 
taeh-like tricks : but it ain't half so hard as 
joggling, nor anything like the work« 

**! a^ my missis have 5s. 0(2. a-night be- 
'tveen as, besides a collection among the com- 
ptoy, which I reckon, on the average, to be as 
good as another pound a-week, for we made 
that the last week we performed. 

* I should say there ain't above twenty jug- 
t^ets in all England — indeed, I'm sure there 
'Oit— such as goes about pitching in the 
streets and towns. I know there's only four 
ethers besides myself in London, unless some 
new one has sprung up very lately. You may 
safSely reckon their earnings for the year round 
tt a pound a-week, that is, if they stick to 
jngf^g; but most of us joins some other 
camng along with juggling, such as the 
l*s bunness, and that helps out the 



** Before this year, I used to go down to the 
aea-nde in the summer, and perform at the 
watering-places. A chap by the name of 
Ooidoii is at Ramsgate now. It pays well on 
^ sands, for in two or three hours, accord- 
ing to the tides, we picks up enough for the 
day.- 

The Stbxet Conjubeiu 

''IcALC myself a wizard as well; but that's 
only the poHte term for cox^urer ; in fact, I 
mold think that wizard meant an astrologer, 
•d more of a fortune-teller. I was fifteen 
Jtears of age when I first began my profes- 
•ooal Hfe ; indeed I opened with Gentleman 



Cooke at the Rotunda, in BlackMaxs'-road, 
and there I did Jeremiah Stitchem to his 
Billy Button. 

** My father held a very excellent situation 
in the Customs, and lived at his ease, in very 
affluent circumstances. His library ilone was 
worth two hundred pounds. I waft only ten 
years of age when my father died. He was a 
vexy gay man, and spent his income to the 
last penny. He was a veiy gay man, very gay. 
After my mother was left a widow, the libraiy 
was swept off for a year's rent I was too 
young to understand it's value, and my mother 
was in too much grief to pay attention to her 
affairs. Another six-months' rent sold up the 
furniture. We took a small apartment close 
in the neighbourhood. My mother had no 
means, and we were left to shift for ourselves. 
I was a good boy, and determined to get some- 
thing to do. The first day I went out I got 
a situation at four shillings a-week, to mind 
the boots outside a boot-maker's shop in 
Newington Causeway. The very first week I 
was there I was discharged, for I fell asleep 
on my stool at the door, and a boy stole a 
pair of boots. From there I went to a baker's, 
and had to carry out the bread, and for four 
years I got different employments, as errand 
boy or anything. 

*< For many years the mall opposite Bedlam 
was filled with nothing else but shows and 
show-people. All the caravans and swing- 
boats, and what not, used to assemble there 
Ull the next fan: was on. They didn't perform 
there, it was only their resting-place. My 
mother was living close by, and every oppor- 
tunity I had I used to associate with the boys 
belonging to the shows, and then I'd see them 
practising their tumbling and tricks. I was 
so fond of this that I got practising with these 
boys. I'd go and point my face as clown, and 
although dressed in my ordinary clothes I'd go 
and tumble with the rest of the lads, until I 
could do it as well as they could. I did it for 
devilment, that's what I call it, and that it was 
which first made me think of being a profes- 
sional. 

** From there I heard of a situation to sell 
oranges, biscuits, and ginger-beer, at the 
Surrey Theatre. It was under Elliston's 
management I sold the porter up in the 
gallery, and I had three-hal^cnce out of eveiy 
shilling, and I could make one shilling and 
sixpence a-night; but the way I used to do it 
at that time was this : I went to fetch the beer, 
and then I'd get half-a-gallon of table-beer 
and mix it wiUi the porter; and I tell you, 
I've made such a thing as fifteen shillings of 
a boxing-night I alone could sell five gallons 
of a night ; but then their pints at that time 
was tin measures, and little more than half-a- 
pint : besides, Td froth it up. It was three- 
pence a pint, and a wonderful profit it must 
have been. From there I got behind the 
scenes as supernumerary, at the time Nelson 
Lee was manager of the supers. 



110 



LONDON LABOUR AND TJm LONDON POOR. 



to hear it, very much.' Then Fd offer to per- 
form, if agreeable, to the company ; ofken the 
party would offer to name it to the company, 
and he'd call to the other side of the room, 
(for they all know each other in these parlours) 
* I say, Mr. So-and-so, have yon any objection 
to this gentleman showing us a little amuse- 
ment?' and they are all of them safe to say, 
' Not in the least I'm perfectly agreeable if 
others are so;' and then I'd begin. I'd pull 
out my cards and card-boxes, and the bonus 
genius or the wooden doll, and then I'd spread 
a nice clean cloth (which I always carried with 
me) on the table, and then I'd go to woric I 
worked the dice by placing it on the top of a 
hat, and with a penknife pretending to make 
an incision in the crown to let the soUd block 
pass through. It is done by having a tin 
covering to the solid dice, and the art consists 
in getting the solid block into the hat without 
being seen. That's the whole of the trick. I 
begin by striking the block to show it is solid. 
Then I place two hats one on the other, brim 
to brim. Then I slip the solid dice into the 
under hat, and place the tin covering on the 
crown of the upper one. Then I ask for a 
knife, and pretend to cut the hat-crown the 
size of the tin-con on the top, making a noise 
by dragging my nail along the hat, which 
closely resembles cutting with a knife. I've 
often heard people say, *None of that!' think- 
ing I was cutting their hat. Then I say, 'Now, 
gentlemen, if I con pass this dice through the 
crown into the hat beneath, you'll say it's a 
very clever deception,' because all conjurers 
acknowledge that they deceive ; indeed, I al- 
ways say when I perform in parlours, * If you 
can detect me in my deceptions I shall be 
very much obliged to you by naming it, for it 
will make me more careftd; but if you can't, 
the more credit to me.' Then I place another 
tin-box over the imitation dice ; it fits closely. 
I say, » Presto—quick — begone 1 ' and clap my 
hands three times, and then lift up the tin- 
cases, which are both coloured black inside, 
and tumble the wooden dice out of the under 
hat. You see, the whole art consists in pass- 
ing the solid block unseen into the hat. 

" The old method of giving the order for 
the things to pass was this : * Albri kira mum- 
ma tousha cocus co shiver de freek from the 
margin under the crippling hook,' and that's 
a language." 

Statement of akotheb Stbeet Cokjtbeb. 

''Im London I had a great quantity of parlours 
where I was known and allowed to perform. One 
night I'd take the West-end, and another the 
East-end. Sometimes I have done four or 
five houses of an evening, and I have had to 
walk miles for that— to Woolwich and back 
for instance, or to Edmonton and back — and 
occasionally I'd only come home with 1«. M, 
I have also had 8«. from one parlour only, and 
then I'd consider that a night's performance, 
and come home again. 



'^ I remember one Toy peeoBir dmnnstnM 
which happened to me whilst I was out hoik- 
ing. There is a house at the bottom of Tocfc- 
strieet, Westminster, where th^ wouldn't allow 
any other comurer but me. I wasveiy friendly 
with the landlord, and I went there regohudj 
every week, and I'd invariably take snoh a 
thing as 2«. or 8«. out of the room. If Ifoand 
only a small muster in the parlour, I'd say, 

* 111 eome another evening,' sad go off to ano- 
ther parlour in Pimlioo. One night the com- 
pany in the parlour said, after I had been pe^ 
forming, * What a pity it is that one of yov 
talent doesnt take a large room somewhere, and 
we'd patronise you.' ' Why,' says the lan^ori, 

* he can have my large room up-stairs if he 
likes.' I agreed to it, and says, ' Well, gentls- 
men, we'll have it next Wednesday evening, if 
you think proper.' The landlord didnt tiQ 
his wife that there was a performance to taka 
place on the Wednesday evening. When I 
went to this house to the appointment, theie 
were about thirty assembled. The laiadlofd 
was out. When we asked the landlady for the 
room, she wouldn't, and we had all the diffi- 
culty in the world before we got the apart- 
ment. I wanted a large table-cloth to diMi 
up my stand, for I have, in order to per- 
form some of my tricks, to make a bag lirith 
the end of the table-cloth to drop things into. 
We sent the waitertoaskforthisdoth,and8a7B 
she, * I aint going to lend no coi^iurers table- 
cloths.' Then a gentleman says, ' Oh, non- 
sense, 111 soon get you a table-doth. Shell 
lend me one in a minute.' He goestoUie 
bar, but the reply she made was, * I'm sn^ 
prised at Mr. W. having such a x>erformanos 
up there, and no table-cloth shall you hate 
fix>m me.' He came up-stairs, and said he had 
been grossly insulted at tlie bar; and then ano- 
ther gentleman said, * Well, this young Inan 
shan't be disappointed, and we'll see if we 
cant find another house down the street, and 
move it to there, and we'll all go.' One went 
out, and came back and said he'd not only got 
a very large room and everything required, bat 
the landlord had four friends in the bar who'd 
join our company. I made altogether about 
1/. that night, for I made no charge, and it 
was altogether contribution. None of thai 
company ever returned to that house again, so 
he lost the whole of his parlour customers. I 
oould never go into that house again, and I 
really was sorry for the landlord, for it wasnt 
his fault. This is a very good proof that it is 
to the advantage of landlords to allow respeefc- 
able performers to visit their parlours. 

** At others times I have sometimes gone into 
a pariour and found the customers taUdns 
poUtics. If it was a very good company, and 
I saw good business, I'd try to break the 
thread of the discussion by saying when there 
was a pause in the debate, * Qentlemen, wonld 
you like to see some of my performances, svdi 
as walking round the ceihng with my head 
down?' Then they'd say, •WcU, that's Tety 



L02W0N LABOXm AND THE LONDON POOR. 



Ul 



i; let^ see totl* Of course I couldn't 
I, and I only said it to attract notice. 
E^d do my card>tiickB, and make a col- 
, and, after that, remark that as the 
•walking performance was a dangerous 
miiBt haye a sovereign ; of conrse they 
it grre this, and I'd take my leave, 
e night, in Oxford-street, I met a 
and he says, 'Where are you going?' 
lim I was himting for a good parlour, 
told me he had just left a good com- 
t soch and such a house. I thanked 
nd I went there. It was up a long 
B, and I entered the room without 
the landlord's permission, and I called 
lass of porter. As soon as I saw the 
out of the room I made my appeal to 
Qpany. They were all of them agree- 
id most happy to see my performances. 
[*d done my performance I went to 
\ collection, and they said, * Oh, cer- 
not ; we thought you'd done it for your 
nusement; we never give anything to 
y. I lost one hour of the best time of 
{ht. I said, 'Very good, gentlemen, 
tisfied if you are.' It was an agreed 
ith the landlord, for he came into the 
and he says, * What, another one ! ' 
seized me by the neck and pushed me 
ks soon as I got outside I met another 
sr, and he asked where I'd been. I 
t I'd let him be served the same as I 
I showed him the house, and told him 
dd make a second 'nobbings' as we 
» I stopped outside peeping over the 
ind presently I see him being pushed 
the landlord as I had been. We had a 
laugh, and then we started off to 
^street, to one of our principal houses, 
tre wasnt a soul in the room. It was 
le in a back -street, where none but 
I and footmen resort to. But we was 
ined to have some money that night, 
I our families wanted it — ^both him and 

ising a tobacconist's shop in Regent- 
we saw three gents conversing with 
ly behind the counter. I told him I'll 
i;et a pickwick here, and see if I can't 
i performance in the front of this 
r. These things only wants an intro- 
1 ; so I looks at my pickwick, and says 
.s a pickwick ? why I swallows such as 
' and I apparently swallowed it. One of 
says, *You don't mean to say you 
red it?' 'Certainly I did, sir,' I 
. ; and then he makes me do it again. 
L told them I'd show them something 
ironderfhl still, so I said, 'Have you 
nen such a thing as a couple of half- 

about you 7' they gave me the money, 
hd the trick of passing the money from 
9 hand. I said to them, ' Can you tell 
lidi hand the money's in?' says he, 

anybody can see it's in that one.' 
nr; saj8 I, 'I think not' *If it 



aint,' says he, * you may keep 'em.' Then I 
opened both hands, and they were in neither, 
and he asked where they was then ; so I told 
him I'd given him them back again, which of 
course he denied, and appeared much sur- 
prised. Then I took 'em out of his cravat. 
It's a very clever trick, and appears most sur- 
prising, though it's as simple as possible, and 
all done by the way in which you take them 
out of the cravat ; for you keep them palmed, 
and have to work 'em up into the folds. Of 
course I returned the half-crowns to him, but 
when I heiurd him say you may keep them I 
did feel comfortable, for that was something 
to the good. My friend outside was looking 
through the window, and I could see him 
rubbing his hands with glee ; I got another 
half-crown out of them gentlemen before I'd 
done with them, for I showed 'em a trick with 
some walking-sticks which were lying on the 
counter, and also cut the tape in two and 
made it whole again, and such-like perform- 
ances. When a fellow is on his beam-ends, as 
I was then, he must keep his eyes about him, 
and have impudence enough for anything, or 
else he may stop and starve. The great art 
is to be able to do tricks with anything that 
you can easily get hold of. If you take up a 
bit of string from a counter, or boirow a 
couple of shillings of a gentleman, your tricks 
with them startles him much more than if you 
had taken them out of your own pocket, tot 
he sees there's been no preparation. I got 
ten shillings out of these two gents I spoke 
of, and then I and my mate went and busked 
in a parlour, and got fivepence more ; so that » 
we shared five and twopence-ha'penny each. ^ 

" I have often made a good deal of money in 
parlours by showing how I did my little tncks, 
such as cutting the tape and passing the half- 
crowns. Another thing that people always 
want to know is the thimble-rig trick. Of 
course it doesn't matter so much showing how 
these tricks are done, because they depend 
upon the quickness and dexterity of handling. 
Tou may know how an artist paints a picture, 
but you mayn't be able to paint one yourself. 

" I never practised thimble-rigging myself, 
for I never approved of it as a practice. I've 
known lots of fellows who lived by it. Bless 
you ! they did well, never sharing less than 
their 4/. or 5/. every day they worked. This 
is the way it's done. They have three thimbles, 
and they put a pea under two of 'em, so that 
there's only one without the pea. The man 
then b^^s moving them about and saying, 
' Out of this one into that one,' and so on, and 
winds up by offering to 'lay anything, from a 
shilling to a pound,' that nobody can t^ which 
thimble the pea is under. Then he turns 
round to the crowd, and pretends to be push, 
ing them back, and whilst he's saying, ' Come, 
gentlemen, stand more backwarder,' one of the 
confederates, who is called ' a button,' lifts up 
one of the thimbles with a pea under it, and 
langhfl to those around, as much as to saj, 



U2 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



* We've found it out' He shows the pea two 
or three times, and the last time he does so, 
he removes it, either by taking it up under his 
forefinger nail or between his thumb and 
finger. It wants a great deal of practice to do 
this nicely, so as not to be found out. When 
the man turns to the table again the button 
says, ' I'll bet you a couple of sovereigns I 
know whero the pea is. Will any gentleman 
gome halves?' Then, if there's any hesita- 
tion, the man at the table will pretend to bo 
nervous and olfer to move the thimbles again, 
but the button will seize him by the arm, and 
shout as if he was in a passion, ' No, no, none 
of that ! It was a fair bet, and ^'ou shan't 
touch 'em.' He'll tlicn again ask if anybody 
will go him halves, and there's usually some- 
body flat enough to join him. Then the 
stranger is asked to lift up the thimble, so that 
he shouldn't susx>ect anything, and of course 
there's no pea there. He is naturally stag- 
gered a bit, and another confederate standing 
oy will say calmly, * I knew you was wrong ; 
here's the pea;' aiid ho lifta up the thimble 
with the second pea under it. If nobody will 
go shares in the 'buiton's' bet, then he lifts 
up the thimble and replaces the pea as he does 
so, and of course wins the stake, and he takes 
good care to say as he pockets the sovereign, 

* I knew it was there ; what a fool you was not 
to stand in.' The second time they repeat 
the trick there's sure to be somebody lose his 
money. Thero used to be a regular pitch for 
thimble-riggers opposite Bedlam, when the 
shows used to put up there. I saw a brewer's 
collector lose 72. there in less than half-an- 
homr. He had a bag full of gold, and they 
let him win the three first bets as a draw. 
Most of these confederates are fighting-men, 
and if a row ensues they're sure to get the 
best of it 

^'A veiy good place where I used to go 
busking was at Mother Emmerson's in Jermyn- 
street. There used to be all sorts of characters 
there, jugglers, and singers, and all sorts. It 
was a favourite house of the Marquis of Water- 
ford, and he used to use it nearly every night. 
I've seen him buy a pipe of port, and draw 
tumblers of it for any body that came in, for 
his great delight was to mako people drunk. 
He says to Mr8.£mmer8on, *• How much do you 
want for that port, mother ? ' and then he wrote 
a cheque for the amount and had it tapped. 
He was a good-hearted fellow, was my Lord ; 
if he played any tricks upon you, he'd always 
square it up. Many a time he's given me half- 
a-pint of brandy, saying, * That's all you'll get 
fipom me/ Sometimes I'd say to him, * Can I 
show you a few tricks, my Lord?' and then, 
when rd finished, I knew he never gave 
money if you asked him for it, so I'd let him 
abuse me, and order me out of the house as a 
humbug ; and then, just as I'd got to the door, 
he'd call me back and give me half-a-sovercign. 
I've seen him do some wonderful things. 
t^re seen him jump into an old woman's 



crockeryware-basket, while she was cany 
along, and smash eveiything. Sometime 
get seven or eight cabs and put a lot of fit 
and other musicians on the roofs, and fi 
with anybody that liked, and then go 
procession round ihQ streets, he drivin 
tirst cab as fast as he could and the 
playing as loud as possible. It's wonderi 
games he'd be up to. But he always 
handsomely for whatever damage he di 
he swept cdl the glasses off a cotmter, 
was the money to make 'em good again. 1 
ever I did any tricks before him, I tool 
care not to produce any apparatus that I 
for, or he'd be sure to smash it. 

" One night I hadn't a penny in the 
and at home I knew they wanted food ; 
went out to busk, and I got over in tl 
Kent-road, and went to a house there 
the Green Man. I walked into the 
lour; and though I hadn't a penny J 
pocket, I called for four pen'orUi of nu 
water. I put my big dice down upo: 
table by the side of me, and begun si 
my rum, and I could see cvciybody Ic 
at this dice, and at last, just as I exp 
somebody asked what it was. So I f 
* Gentlemen, I get my Uving this way, 
you like, I shall b« happy to show you 
of my deceptions for your entertain 
They said, * Certainly, young man, v 
perfectly agreeable.' Ah! I thought t 
self, thank heaven that's all right, for I 
for the rum and water you see, and if 
refused, I don't know what I should have 
I pulled out my nice clean cloth and 1 
upon the table, and to work I went. 
only done one or two tricks, when in • 
the waiter, and directly be sees me he 
out, *• We don't allow no ooi^jurers oi 
thing of that kind here,' and I had ti 
up again. When he'd gone the company 
' Go on, young man, it's all right now ; 
out with my cloth again ; then in can 
landlord, and says he, 'You've already 
told we don't iJlow none of you oa 
fellows here,' and I had to put up a 8 
time. When he'd gone, the gents told 
begin again. I had scafcely spread mj 
when in comes the landlord again, in a ' 
ing rage, and shouts out, ' What, at it e 
Now you be off;' so I said, »I only did 
oblige the company present, who wera i 
able, and that I hadn't yet finished m 
and water, which wasn't paid for.* ' No* 
for ? ' says he ; * No,' says I : * but Tm w 
here for a friend, and bell pay for it.' 
may imagine my feeUngs, widiout a pei 
my pocket * Don't let me catch you 
again, or I'll give you in charge,' sa: 
Scarcely had he left again when Uie oox 
began talking about it, and saying it w 
bad to stop me; so one of them rinf 
bell, and when the landlord comes : 
says, * Mr. Landlord, tliis young perso 
been veiy civil, and conducted himseL 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



118 



highlj respectable manner, and has certainly 
ifforded ns a great deal of amnsement ; now 

I whj should you object to his showing us 
Kune tricks f * Thank heavens/ thought I to 
ffljself, * I'm sayed, and the rum will be paid 
for. The landlord's manner altered all of a 

> sodden, and says he, * Oh, certainly, gentle- 
men! certainly! if it's your wish, I don't 
mind the young man's being here ; thongh I 
mike it a rule to keep my parlour select.' 

' Then I set to work and did all my tricks 

' eomfortably, and I made a collection of Is. 6rf. 

I Then I rang the bell like a lord, and I put 
down a shilling to pay for tlie rum and water, 
tod saying, * Gentlemen, I'm very much obliged 
to you for your patronage,' to which they 
icptied, ' Not at all, young man,' I walked past 
tka bar to leave. Then the landlord comes 

Lto me and says, shaking his fist, and 
in the face with rage, ' If ever I catch 

I yott here again, you d rogue, I'll give you 

(0 a policeman.' So, without more ado, I 
valks round to the other door, and enters the 
parlour again and tells the company, and they 
bid in Uie landlord and blowed him well 
■■ up. This will just show you the risks we 
bsTB to run when out busking for a living, 
and what courage is wcnted to speculate upon 
dunces. 

" There are very few coiyurers out busking 

now. I don't know above four; one of 'em 

hit had the best chances in the world of 

getting on ; but he's a very uneducated man, 

I tod that has stood iu his way, thongh he's 

fBiy clever, and pr'aps the best hand at tlie 

I eqw and balls of any man in England. For 

I iDttance, once he was at a nobleman's party, 

I gning his entertainment, and he says such 

I a thing as this: — * You see, my lords and 

' kdies, I have a tatur in this hand, and a tatur 

I kthaft; now 1 shall pass 'em into this liand- 

! hveher/ Of course the nobleman said to 

' kmself, * Tatur! handkercher! why, who's 

thk feller?' You may depend upon it he was 

lenr isked there any more ; for every thing 

I at a wizard's business depends upon graceful 

I aetioii, and his style of dcUvery, so that he 

\ IMJ make himself agreeable to the company. 

'^When a conjurer's out busking, he may 

nckon open making his v>05. a-week, taking 

tile year round ; pr'aps, some weeks, he won't 

tike more than 12s. or U)s. ; but then, at 

othsr times, he moy get Gs, or 8«. in one 

larionr alone, and I have taken as much as 

U bgr teaching gentlemen how to do the tricks 

I had been pfenning. I have sometimes 

viQced my twenty miles a-day, and busked at 

way paiiour I came to, (for I ne?er enter 

tip-rooms,) and come home with only Is. 6d. 

in my pocket. I have been to Edmonton and 

\mk and only earned !«., and then, pr'aps, 

it eleven the same night, when I was nearly 

done up, and quite dispirited with my luck, 

Tre turned into one of the parlours in town 

■ad earned my Qs. in less than an hour, where 

Id been twelve only earning one." 



The Stbeet Fire-Kino, or Salamander. 

This person came to me recommended by one 
of my street acquaintances as the *• pluckiest 
fire-eater going," and that as he was a little 
'* do^-n at heel," he slumld be happy for a con- 
sideration to give me any information I might 
require in the " Salamander line.'* 

He was a tall, gaimt man, with an absent- 
looking face, and so pale that his dark eyes 
looked positively wild. 

I could not help thinking, as I looked at his 
bony form, that fire was not the most nutri- 
tious food in the world, until the poor fellow 
explained to me that ho had not broken his 
fast for two days. 

He gave the following account of himself: — 

" My father was a barber — a three-ha'penny 
one — and doing a good business, in South- 
wark. I used to assist him, lathering up the 
chins and shaving 'em — torturing, I called it. 
1 was a very good light hand. You see, you 
tell a good shaver by the way he holds the 
razor, and the play from tlie wrist. All our 
customers were tradesmen and workmen, but 
father would never shave either coalheavers or 
fishermen, because they always threw down a 
penny, and said there was plenty of penny 
barbers, and tlioy wouldn't give no more. The 
old man always stuck up for his price to the 
day of his death. There was a person set up 
close to him for a penny, and that icyiured us 
awful. I was educated at St. George's National 
and Parochial School, and I was a national lad, 
and wore my own clothes ; but the parochials 
wore the uniform of blue bob-tailed coats, and 
a badge on the left side. When they wanted 
to make an appearance in the gallery of the 
church on charity-semion days, they used to 
midco all the nationals dress like the paro- 
chials, so as to swell the numbers up. I was 
too fbnd of entertainments to stick to learning, 
and I used to sttp it. Kennington common 
was my principal place. I used, too, to go 
to the outside of the Queen 's-bench and pick 
up tlie racket-balls as they was chucked over, 
and then sell them for three-ha'pence each. 
I got promoted from the outside to the inside ; 
for, from being always about, they took me at 
threepence a-day, and gave me a bag of whiten- 
ing to whiten the racket-balls. When I used 
to hop the wag from school I went there, 
which was tliree times ar-week, which was the 
reglar racket-days. I used to spend my three- 
pence in damaged fruit — have a pen'orth of 
damaged grapes or plums — or have a ha'porth 
of wafers from the confectioner's. Ah, I've eat 
thousands and thousands of ha'porths. It's a 
kind of a paste, but they stick Uke wafers — 
my father's stuck a letter many a time with 'em. 
They goes at the bottom of the russetfees cake 
— ah, ratafees is the word. 

*' I got so unruly, and didn't attend to school, 
so I was turned out, and then I went to help 
father and assist upon the customers. I was 
confined so in the shop, that I only stopped 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



115- 



jaomoit the lighted piece is put in your 
montli, the flame goes out on the instant 
Then we sqaench the flame with spittle. 
As we takes a bit of link in the mouth, we 
tacks it on one side of the cheek, as a monkey 
do with nuts in his i>oach. After I have eaten 
sufficient fire I take hold of the link, and ex- 
tinguish the lot by putting the burning end in 
my mouth. Sometimes, when I makes a slip, 
sod don't pat it in carefhl, it makes your mous- 
' tache fiz up. I must also mind how I opens 
mj month, 'cos the tar sticks to the lip wherever 
it touches, and pains sadly. This sore on my 
hand is caused by the melted pitch dropping 

00 my fingers, and the sores is liable to be 
I bftd for a week or eight days. I don't spit out 

my faits of link; I always swallow them. I 
• nerer did spit 'em out, for they are very whole- 
I some, and keeps you from having any sickness. 
j Whilst I'm getting the next trick ready I 
! ehewB them up and eats them. It tastes raUier 
' xooghish, bat not nasty when you're accus- 
tomed to it. It's only like having a mouthful 
of dust, and veiy wholesome. 

** My next trick is with a piece of tow with a 
piece of tape rolled up in the interior. I begin 
to eat a portion of this tow— plain, not a-light 
—till I find a fitting opportunity to place the 
tspe in the mouth. Then I pause for a time, 
nil in the meantime Pm doing a little pan- 
tomime basiness — ^just like love business, se- 
rums— -till I get the end of this tape between 
inj teeth, and then I draws it out, supposed 
to be manufactured in the pit of the stomach. 
After that — which always goes immensely — 

1 eat some more tow, and inside this tow there 
ii what I call the fire-ball— that is, a lighted 
fbsee boond round with tow and placed in the 
centre of the tow Tm eating— which I intro- 
dooe at a fitting opportunity. Then I blows 
out with my breath, and that sends out smoke 
and fire. That there is a very hard trick, for 
it's aooording how this here fire-ball bustes. 
Sometimes it bastes on the side, and then it 
bams aU. the inside of the mouth, and the 
next morning you can take out pretty well the 
inside of yonr mouth with your finger; but if 
it bastes near the teeth, then it's all right, for 
there's vent fur it. I also makes the smoke 
and flame — that is, sparks — come down my 
nose, the same as coming out of a blacksmith's 
chimney. It makes the eyes water, and there's 
t tingling ; bat it don*t bum or make you 
giddy. 

** My next trick is with the brimstone. I 
have a plate of lighted sulphur, and first in- 
hile the fomea, and then devour it with a fork 
md swallow it As a costermonger said when 
he saw me do it, ' I say, old boy, your game 
nnt all brandy.' There's a kind of a acid, 
niily, sour taste in this feat, and at first it used 
to niake me fbel sick; but now I'm used to it, 
end it dont. When I puts it in my mouth it 
dingt jmllike sealing-wax, and forms a kind of 
a dMtd ash. Of a morning, if I haven't got my 
brwk&ii \ff a certain time, there's a kind of a 



retching in my stomach, and that's the only 
inconvenience I feel fh>m swallowing the sul- 
phur for that there feat 

" The next is, with two sticks of sealing-wax 
and the same plate. They are lit by the gas 
and dropped on one another till they are bodily 
a-light. Then I borrow either a ring of the 
company, or a pencil-case, or a seal. I set 
the sealing-wax a-ligbt with a fork, and I press 
the impression of whatever article I can get 
with tlie tongue, and the seal is passed round 
to the company. Then I finish eating the 
burning wax. I always spits that out after,^ 
when no one's looking. Tho sealing-wax is 
all right if you get it into the interior uf tho 
mouth, but if it is stringy, and it falls, you 
can't get it off, without it takes away skin and 
all. It has a very pleasant taste, and I always 
prefer the red, as it's flavour is the best Hold 
your breath and it goes out, but still the heat 
remains, and you can't get along with that so 
fast as the sulphur. I often bum myself, 
especially when I'm bothered in my entertain- 
ment ; sach as any person talking about me 
close by, then I listen to 'em perhaps, and Tm 
liable to bum myself. I haven't been able 
to perform for three weeks after some of my 
burnings. I never let any of the audience 
know anything of it, but smother up tho pain, 
and go on with my other tricks. 

" The other trick is a feat which I make 
known to the public as one of Eamo Samee's, 
which he used to perform in public-houses 
and tap-rooms, and made a deal of money out 
of. With the same plate and a piece of dry 
tow placed in it, I have a pepper-box, with 
ground rosin and sulphur together. I light the 
tow, and with a knife and fork I set down to 
it and eat it, and exclaim, * This is my light 
supper.' There isn't no holding the breath so 
much in this trick as in the others, but you 
must get it into the mouth any how. It's 
like eating a hot beef-steak when you are 
ravenous. The rosin is apt to drop on the 
flesh and cause a long blister. You see, we 
have to eat it with the head up, full-faced ; 
and really, without it's seen, nobody would 
believe what I do. 

" There's another feat, of exploding the 
gunpowder. There's two ways of exploding 
it This is my way of doing it though I only 
does it for my own benefits and on grand 
occasions, for it's veiy dangerous indeed to 
the f^ume, for it's sure to destroy the hair of 
the head ; or if anything smothers it, it's 
liable to shatter a thumb or a limb. 

" I have a man to wait on me for tliis trick, 
and he unloops my dress and takes it ofi^ 
leaving the bare back and arms. Then I gets 
a quarter of a pound of powder, and I has an 
ounce put on the back part of the neck, in the 
hollow, and I holds out each arm ^-ith an 
orange in the palm of each hand, with a train 
along the arms, leading up to the neck. Then 
I turns my back to tho audience, and my man 
fires the gunpowder, and it blew up in a 



116 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



xninnte, and ran down the train and blew op 
that in my hands. I've been pretty luol^ 
with this trick, for it's only been when the 

Eowder's got under my bracelets, and then it 
urts me. I'm obliged to hold the hand up, 
for if it hangs down it hurts awful. It looks 
like a scurvy, and as the new skin forms, the 
old one falls ofL 

** That's the whole of my general perform- 
ance for concert business, when I go busking 
at free concerts or outside of shows (I 

generaUy gets a crown a-day at fairs). I never 
o the gunpowder, but only the tow and the 
link. 

**I have been engaged at the Flora Gkur- 
dens, and at St Helena Gardens, Bother- 
hithe, and then I was Signor Salamander, the 
great fire-kin^ from the East-end theatres. 
At the Eel- pie-house, Peckham, I did the 
' terrific flight through the air,' coming down 
a wire surrounded by flre-works. I was 
called Herr Alma, the flying flend. There was 
four soaflbld-poles placed at the top of the 
house to form a tower, just large enough for 
me to lie down on my belly, for the swivels on 
the rope to be screwed into the cradle round 
my body. A wire is the best, but they had a 
rope. On this cradle were places for the fire- 
works to be put in it. I had a helmet of fire 
on my head, and the three sparic cases (th^ 
are made with steel-filings, and throw out 
sparks) made of Prince of Wales feathers. I 
had a sceptre in my hand of two serpents, and 
in their open mouths they put fire-balls, and 
they lookeid as if they was spitting fieiy venom. 
I had wings, too, formed ftom the ankle to the 
waist They was netting, and spangled, and 
well sized to throw off" the fire. I only did 
this two nights, and I had ten shillings each 

Serformance. It's amomentaiy feeling coming 
own, a kind of suffocation like, so that you 
must hold your breath. I had two mei\ to 
cast me ofi*. There was a gong first of all, 
knocked to attract the attention, and then I 
made my appearance. First, a painted pigeon, 
made of lead, is sent down the wire as a 
pilot. It has moveable wings. Then all the 
fire-works are lighted up, and I come down 
right through ihe thickest of 'em. There's a 
trap-door set in the scene at the end, and two 
men is there to look after it As soon as I 
have passed it, the men shut it, and I dart up 
against a feather-bed. The speed I come 
down at regularly jams me up against it, but 
you see I throw away this sceptre and save 
myself with my hands a little. I feel fagged 
for want of breath. It seems like a sudden 
fright, you know. I sit down for a few 
minutes, and then Pm all right 

**rm never afraid of fire. There was 
a turner's place that took fire, and I saved 
that house from being burned. He was a 
friend of mine, the turner was, and when I 
was there, the wife thought she heard the 
children crying, and asked me to go up and 
see what it was. As I went up I could smell I 



fire worse and worse, and when I got in the 
room it was frill of smoke, and all the car- 
pet, and bed-hangings, and curtains smoulder- 
ing. I opened the window, and the fire burst 
out, so I ups with the carpet and throw'd it 
out of window, together with the blazing 
chairs, and I rolled the linen and drapery up 
and throw'd them out I was as near suflb- 
cated as possible. I went and felt the bed, 
and there was two children near dead firom 
the smoke; I brought them down, and a 
medical man was called, and he brought then 
round. 

** I dont reckon no more than two oih«r 
fire-ldnp in London beside myself. I only 
know of two, and I should be sure to hear of 
'em if there were more. But they can only 
do three of the tricks, and I've got novelties 
enough to act for a fortnight, with fresh per- 
formances eveiy evening. There's a party In 
Dmry.lane is willing to back me for five, 
fifteen, or twenty pounds, against anybody 
that will come ana answer to it, to p€»foim 
with any other man for cleanness and clever^ 
ness, and to show more variety of perfonn- 



^Vm always at fire-eating. That's howl 
entirely get my living, and I perform five 
nights out of the six. Thursday night is Uia 
only night, as I may say, I'm idle. Thursday 
night eveiybody's frijgged, that's the saying—- 
Got no money. Friday, there's many liuge 
firms pays their men on, especially in Bar- 
mondsey. 

'Tm out of an engagement now, and I 
dont make more than eleven shillings a-week, 
because I'm busking; but when I'm in an 
engagement my money stands me about 
thirty-five shillings a-week, putting down the 
value of the drink as well-*that is, what's 
allowed for refreshment Summer is the worst 
time for me, 'cos people goes to the gflffdens« 
In the winter season I'm always engaged three 
months out of the six. Ton might say, if yoa 
counts the overplus at one time, and minus at 
other time, that I makes a pound a-week. I 
know what it is to go to the treasury on a 
Saturday, and get my thirty shillings, and I 
know what it is to have the landlord come with 
his *• Hallo ! hallo ! here's three weeks due^ 
and another week running on.' 

" I was very hard up at one time — when I 
was living in Friar-street— and I used to 
frequent a house kept by a betting-man, near 
the St George's Surrey Riding-school. A man 
I knew used to supply this betting-man with 
rats. I was at this public-house one night 
when this rat-man comes up to me, and says 
he, * Hallo! my pippin ; here, I want you : I 
want to make a match. Will you kill thir^ 
rats against my dog ?' So I said, * Let me see 
the dog first ; ' and I looked at his mouth, and 
he was an old dog ; so I says, * No, I wont go in 
for thirty ; but I don't mind trying at twenty.* 
He wanted to make it twenty-four, but I 
wouldn't They put the twenty in the ratpph^ 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



117 



iiid the dog irent in first tnd killed his, and 
be took 9k qoAiter of an hour and two minutes. 
Thm % fresh lot were put in the pit, and I 
beipyi ; my hands were tied behind me. They 
ihriyt make an allowanoe for a man, so the 
pit was made closer, for yon see a man can't 
tamroondlike adog; I had half the space of 
tke dog. The rats lay in a duster, and then 
1 picked them off where I wanted 'em, and bit 
lEm between the shoulders. It was when they 
cme to one or two that I had the work, for 
tbej eat ^x>at. The last one made me re- 
member him, for he gave me a bite, of which 
Pve got the scar now. It festered, and I was 
dUBged to have it cut out. I took Dutch 
drops for it, and poulticed it by day, and I 
WIS bad for three weeks. They made a sub* 
teription in the room of fifteen shillings for 
kiOaig these rats. I won the match, and beat 
the dog \ty four minutes. The wager was five 
ifaiUbags, which I had. I was at the time so 
kaid up, rd do anything for some money; 
Ihou^ as far as that's concerned, I'd go into a 
fit now, if anybody would make it worth my 
wbfle." 

The Sxakb, Swobd, ahd Krite-Swallowxb. 

Hi was quite a young man, and, judging from 
Ui eonntenanoe, there was nothing Uiat could 
teeoottt for his having taken up so strange a 
iDsthod of gaining his livelihood as that of 
swallowing snakes. 

He was very simple in his talk and manner. 
He readily confessed that the idea did not 
originate with him, and prided himself only 
on being the second to take it up. There is no 
doobt that it was from his being startled by the 
itnngeness and daringness of the act that he 
was induced to make the essay. He said he 
saw nothing disgusting in it; that people 
Ubsd it ; that it served him well in his ** pro- 
feBBionBl* engagements; and spoke of the 
saake in genial as a reptile capable of afiec 
lion, not unpleasant to the eye, and very 
deanly in its habits. 

**! swallow snakes, swords, and knives; 
bet, of coarse, when I'm engaged at a penny 
theatre I*m expected to do more than this, 
lor it would only take a quarter of an hour, 
Old that isn't long enough for them. They 
cdl me in the perfession a * Sallementro,' and 
that is what I term myself; though p'raps 
itrs easier to say I'm a * swallower.' 

^ It was a mate of mine that I was with 
that first put me up to sword-and-snake swal- 
kniiDg. I copied off him, and it took me 
about three months to learn it. I began with 
* cwofd first — of course not a sharp sword, 
bat one blunt-pointed— and I didn't ex. 
aelly know how to do it, for there's a trick in it. 
I eee him, and I said, ' Oh, I shall set up 
master for myself, and practise until I can 
doit* 

^ At first it turned me, putting it down my 
iluQat past my swallow, right down— about 



eighteen inches. It made my swallow sore — 
yeiy sore, and I used lemon and sugar to cure 
it. It was tight at first, and I kept pushing it 
down fruther and further. There's one thin^, 
you mustn't cough, and until you're used to it 
you want to very bad, and then you must pull 
it up again. My sword was about three-quar- 
ters of an inch wide. 

^ At first I didn't know the trick of doing it, 
but I found it out this way. You see the 
trick is, you must oil the sword— the best 
sweet oil, worth fourteen pence a pint — and 
you put it on with a sponge. Then, you un- 
derstand, if the sword scratches the swallow 
it dont make it sore, 'cos the oil heals it up 
again. When first I put the sword down, be- 
fore I oiled it, it used to come up quite slimy, 
but after Uie oil it slips down quite easy, is as 
clean when it comes up as before it went 
down. 

" As I told you, we are called at concert-rooms 
where I perform the < Sallementro.' I think 
it's French, but I don't know what it is exactly ; 
but that's what I'm called amongst us. 

'' The knives are easier to do Uian the sword 
because they are shorter. We puts them right 
down till the handle rests on the mouth. The 
sword is about eighteen inches long, and the 
knives about eight inches in the blade. People 
run away with Uie idea that you slip the blades 
down your breast, but I always hold mine right 
up with the neck bare, and they see it go into 
the mouth atween the teeth. They also fancy 
it hurts you; but it don't, or what a fool I 
should be to do it. I don't mean to say it 
don't hurt you at first, 'cos it do, for my swal- 
low was very bad, and I couldn't eat anything 
but liqtuds for two months whilst I was learn- 
ing. I cured my swallow whilst I was stretch- 
ing it with lemon and sugar. 

*' I was tlie second one that ever swaDowed 
a snake. I was about seventeen or eighteen 
years old when I learnt it. The first was 
Clarke as did it. He done vexy well with it, but 
he wasn't out no more than two years before 
me, so he wasn't known much. In the country 
there is some places where, when you do it, 
they swear you are the devil, and won't have it 
nohow. 

" The snakes I use are about eighteen inches 
long, and you must first cut the stingers out, 
'cos it might hurt you. I always keep two or 
three by me for my performances. I keep 
them warm, but the winter kills 'em. I give 
them nothing to oat but worms or gentles. I 
generally keep them in fionnel, or hay, in a 
box. I've three at home now. 

** When first I began swallowing snakes they 
tasted queer like. They draw'd the roof of 
the mouth a bit. It's a roughish taste. The 
scales rough you a bit when you draw them 
up. You see, a snake will go into ever such a 
little hole, and they are smooth one way. ^ 

*' The head of the snake goes about an inch 
and a half down the throat, and the rest of it 
continues in the mouth, curled round like. I 



118 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



hold him hy the tidl, and when I pinoh it he 
goes right in. You must cut the stinger oat 
or he'll iiyure you. The tail is slippeiy, but 
you nip it with the nails like pinchen. If 
yon was to let him go, he'd go right down ; 
but most snakes will stop at two inches down 
the swallow, and then they bind like a ball in 
the mouth. 

** I in genendly get my snakes by giving little 
boys ha'pence to go and catch 'em in the 
woods. I get them when I'm pitching in the 
country. I'll get as many as I can get, and 
bring 'em up to London for my engagements. 

** AVhen first caught the snake is slimy, and 
I have to clean him by scraping him off with 
the finger-nail as dean as I can, and then 
wiping him with a cloth, and then with ano- 
ther, until he's nice and clean. I have put 
lem down slimy, on purpose to taste what it 
was like. It had a nasty taste with it— >Teiy 
nasty. 

** I give a man a shilling always to cut the 
stinger out— one that knows all about it, for 
tlio Btinger is under the tongue. It was this 
Clark I first see swallow a snake. He swallowed 
it as it ^-os when ho caught it, slimy. He 
said it was nasty. Then he scraped it with 
his nail and lot it crawl otween his hands, 
cleaning itself. When once they are cleaned 
of the slime they havn no taste. Upon my 
word they are clean thinp:s, a'most like metal. 
They only lives on worms, and that ain't so 
nasty ; besides, tliey never makes no mess in 
tlie box, only frotliing in the mouth at morn- 
ing and evening : but I don't know what comes 
from 'em, for I ain't a doctor. 

" When I exhibit, I first holds the snake up 
in the air and pinches the tail, to make it curl 
about and twist round my arm, to show that 
he is alive. Then I holds it above my mouth, 
and as soon as he sees the hole in he goes. 
He goes wavy-like, as a ship goes. — ^that;B the 
comparison. You see, a snake will go in at 
any hole. I always hold my breath whilst 
his head is in my swallow. AVhen he moves 
in the swallow, it tickles a little, but it don't 
make you want to retch. In my opinibn 
he is more glad to come up than to go 
down, for it seems to be too hot for him. I 
keep him down about two minutes. If I 
breathe or cough, he draws out and cuils back 
again. I think there's artfulness in some of 
them big snakes, for they seem to know which 
is the master. I was at Wombwell's menagerie 
of wild bea.^t8 for three months, and I had the 
care of a big snake, as thick round as my arm. 
I -wouldn't attempt to put that one down my 
throat, I can tell you, for I think I might 
easier have gone down his'n. I had to show 
it to the people in front of the carriages to 
draw 'em in, at fair time. I used to hold it up 
in both hands, with my arms in the air. Many 
a time it curled itself three or four times 
round my neck and about my body, and it 
never even so much as squeeged me the least 
bit. I had the feeding on it, and I used to 



prive it the largest worms I coiild find. Mr. 
Wombwell has often said to me, ' It^s a dan- 
gerous game you're after, and if you don't 
give the snake plenty of worms and make it 
like you, it'll nip you some of these times.' Tm 
sure the snake know'd me. I was very partial 
to it, too. It was a flirren snake, over spots, 
called a boa-constructor. It never iii^uxed me, 
though I'm told it is uncommon powerful, 
and eon aqueege a man up like % sheet of 
paper, and crack his bones as easj ms a laric*!. 
Pm tremendous courageous, nothing frightens 
me ; indeed, I don't know what it is to be afraid. 

" The one I was speaking of I have aften 
held up in the air in both hands, and it 
was more than four yards long, and let it 
curl round my neck in five or six twiris. It 
was a boa-constructor, and I believe it knoWd 
me, end that's why it didn't hurt me, for I feed 
him. He had nothing but long great wonns, 
and he grew to know me. 

^ My performance with the snake is always 
very successful. The women is frightened at 
first, but they always stop to see, and only 
hide their eyes. '1 here's no danger as long 
as you keep hold. 

^ I generally perform at concert-rooms, and 
penny theatres, and cheap circuses, and all 
round the counUy, such as in the street, or at 
farm-houses, or in tap-rooms. I have done it 
in the streets of London too, and then Vm 
drcssed-up in fleshing tights, skin dress, and 
trunks. I carry the snake in a box. When I 
swallow it some holloa out, ' my God, dont 
do that!' but when I'm finished, they siy, 
'It's hardly wonderfrd to be believed,' axid 
give money. 

« I generally mix up the sword-and-snake 
performances with my other ones ; and it^ 
the same in the streets. 

** Sometimes I go out to tap-rooms in my 
eveiy-day dress, with the snake in my pocket, 
and a sword. Then I go and ofler to show 
my performance. First I'll do some tumbling, 
and throw a somerset over a table. Then I 
takes out the snake ard say, * Gentlemen, I 
shall now swallow a live snake, anybody is at 
liberty to feel it,' I have— according to the 
company, you know — ^niade such a thing aa 
five shillings, or one shilling and sixpence, 
or whatever it may be, by snake-swallowing 
alone. 

''I'm the only one in London who can 
swallow a snake. There's nobody else besides 
me. It requires great courage. I've great 
courage. One night I was sleeping in a bam 
at a public-house, called the Globe, at Lewes, 
seven miles from Brighton. A woman who 
had cut her throat used to haunt the place. 
Well, I saw her walking about in a long white 
shroud, the doors opening and shutting be- 
fore her. A man who was in the room with 
us jumped up in his bed and cried, * Tum- 
blers!'" 

'*I must teU you one thing before you 
finish, just to prove what tremendous courage 



JuONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



Ill) 



L I was out showing the sword-aad- 
swallowing in the conntiy, and I tra- 
down to near Lawes, which is seven 
ram Brighton, and there I put up at a 
adled the Falcon. We slept in a bam, 
night, when all was asleep except my- 
see a fignre all in white come into the 
vith her throat cnt, and her face as 
m chalk. I knowed she was a apperi- 
OB rd been told the hoose was haunted 
b. Well, in she come, and she stopped 
oked at me, seeing that I was awake, 
lenpization poored out of me like a 
r; hat I wam't afeard, I've that courage. 
,*Ood help me!' for I knew I'd done 
m as I cocdd call to mind ; so I hadn't 
r of ghosts and such-like spirits. No, 
ftain it wem't no fancy of mine, 'cos 
see it as well as me. There was a 
B the same room, and he woke up and 
16 ghosts, and up he jumps in bed and 
mt: 'Tumblers! Tumblers! here's a 
I h'^tnting us ! ' I told him to lie down 
> to sleep, and hold his uoise. Then I 
t of bed, and it wanished past me, close 
Id be, — as near as I am to this table. 
oor opened itself to let her out, and 
loaed again. I didn't fed the air cold 
or nothing, nor was there any smell or 
nk. I'm sure I wasn't dreaming, 'cos 
rs pretty well when I'm awake. Besides 
ora kept bouncing open, and then slam- 
o again for more Uian an hour, and woke 
od^ in the room. This kept on tiU one 
• Yet, yon see, though the sweat run 
ne to that degree I was wetted through, 
lad that courage I could get out of bed 
what the spirit was like. I said, ' God 
le 1 for I've done no harm as I knows of^' 
at give mo courage." 
1^ the ^ Salamentro " told mo this ghost 
lie spoke it in a half voice, like that of 
oas believer in such things. When he 
dshed he seomed to have something on 
ad, for after a moment's silence he said, 
oniidential tone, "Between ourselves, 
VCL a Jew." I then asked him if he 
It the ghost was aware of it, and had 
him on that account, and the following 
i reply : " Well, it ain't imlikely ; for, you 
me of our scholars know what to say to 
K>r things, and they know what to do 
; 'em. Now, pr'aps she thought I knew 
wcrets^ — ^but, I'm no scholard — ^for, yon 
\ itm^ always carry prayers about with 
beep ofi evil spirits. That's one reason 
was so bold as to go up to her." 

Stbekt Clowh. 

«8 a melancholy -looking man, with 
nken eyes and other characteristics of 
starvation, whilst his face was scored 
inee and wrinkles, telling of paint and 
iture age. 
B.W him performing in the streets with 



a school of acrobats soon after I had been 
questioning him, and the readiness and busi- 
nessUike way with which he resumed his 
professional buffoonery was not a httle re- 
maricable. His stoiy was more pathetic than 
comic, and proved that the li£B of a street 
clown is, perhaps, the most wretched of all 
existence. Jest as he may in the street, his 
hfe is literally no joke at home. 

** I have been a down for sixteen years," he 
said, ** having lived totally by it for that time. 
I was left motherless at two years of age, and 
my father died when I was nine. He was a 
carman, and his master took me as a stable- 
boy, and I stayed with him until he failed in 
business. I was then left destitute again, 
and got employed as a snpemumeraiy at 
Astle/s, at one shilling a-night I was a 
' super' some time, and got an insight into 
theatricd life. I got acquainted, too, with 
singing people, and could sing a good song, 
and came out at last on my own account in 
the streets, in the Jim Grow line. My neces- 
sities forced me into a public line, which I am 
far from liking. I'd pull trucks at one shilling 
a-day, rather than get twelve shillings a- week 
at my business. I've tried to get out of the 
line. I've got a friend to advertise for me for 
any situation as groom. Ive tried to get iuto 
the police, and I've tried oUier things, but 
somehow there seems an impossibility to get 
quit of the street business. Many times I 
have to play the down, and indulge in all kinds 
of buffoonery, with a terrible heavy heart. I 
have travelled very much, too, but I never did 
over-well in the profession. At races I may 
have made ten shillings for two or three days, 
but that was only occosiond ; and what is ten 
shillings to keep a wife and family on, for a 
month maybe? I have three children, one 
now only dght weeks old. You can't imagine, 
sir, what a curse the street business often 
becotnos, with its insults and starvations. 
The day before my wife was confined, I jumped 
andlabour'd doing Jim Grow for twdve hours — 
in the wet, too-— and earned one shilling and 
threepence; with ibis I returned to a home 
without a bit of cod, and with only half-a- 
quartern loaf in it. I know it was one shilling 
and threepence ; for I keep a sort of log of mj 
earnings and my expenses; yon'U see on it 
what I've eom'd as clown, or the ftmnyman, 
with a party of acrobats, since the beginning 
of this year." 

He showed me this log, as he called it, 
which was kept in small figures, on paper 
folded up as economically as possible. His 
latest weekly earnings were, ISU. 6<i., U. \OtL, 
7s. 7if., 2«. Sd., a#. Hid., 7*. 1^ 7j. 9K» 
6«. 4|d., 10«. 104d., 95. 7d., 6s. lid., I5s. 0H» 
6s. 6d., 4s. 2d., I2s. lOid., lOt. &Kr ^^* ^• 
Against this was set off what the poor man 
haid to expend for his dinner, drc, when 
out playing the clown, as he was away firom 
home and could not dine with his family. The 
dphers intimate the weeks when there was no 



>/ 



190 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOS. 



such expense, or in other words, those which 
had heen passed without dinner. 0, 0, 0, 0, 
2t, 2|rf., 3«. 9{d,, 4>. id,, 4f. JM., 6«. 6^1^., ftt. 
11H> ^' lO^rf., 2f. 8H> St. 7K» 8«. 4|rf., Of. 
bid,, Am, 6}4^, 4f. 3«I. This account shows an 
average of Ba. 6^. a- week as the gross gain, 
whilst, if the expenses he deducted, not quite 
six shillings remain as the average weekly sum 
to he taken home to wife and family. 

**! dare say," continued the man, *<that 
no persons tMnk more of their dig^ty than 
such as are in my way of life. I would rather 
starve than ask for parochial relief. Many a 
time I have gone to my lahour without breakmg 
my fast, and played clown until I could raise 
dinner. I have to make jokes as clown, and 
«ould fill a volume with all I knows." 

He told me several of his jests ; they were 
«11 of the most venerable kind, as for instance : 
— ** A horse has ten legs : he has two fore 
legs and two hind ones. Two fores are eight, 
«nd two others are ten." The other jokes 
were equally puerile, as, •* Why is the City of 
Home,** (he would have it Rome), "like a 
candle wick? Because it's in the midst of 
Greece." **01d and young are both of one 
«ge : your son at twenty is young, and your 
liorse at twenty is old: and so old and 
joung are the same.** ''The dress," he 
continued, *'thatl wear in the streets consists 
of red striped cotton stockings, with ftdl 
trunks, dotted red and black. The body, 
which is dotted like the trunks, fits tight like 
a woman's ^own, and has Aili sleeves and 
Irills. The wig or scalp is made of horse-hair, 
which is sown on to a white cap, and is in the 
shape of a cock's comb. My face is painted 
with dry white lead« I grease my skm first 
and then dab the white paint on (flake-white 
is too dear for us street clowns) ; after that I 
colour my cheeks and mouth with vermilion. 
I never dress at home ; we all dress at public- 
houses. In the street where I lodge, only a 
very few know what I do for a living. I and 
my wife both strive to keep the business a 
secret firom our neighbours. My wife does a 
little washing when able, and often works 
eight hours for sixpence. I go out at eight 
in the morning and return at dark. My 
children hardly know what I do. They see 
my dresses lying about, but that is all. My 
eldest is a girl of thirteen. She has seen me 
dressed at Stepney fair, where she brought me 
my tea (I live near there) ; she laughs when 
she sees me in my clown's dress, and wants to 
stay with me : but I would rather see her lay 
dead before me (and I had two dead in my 
place at one time, last Whitsun Monday was a 
twelvemonth) than the should ever belong 
to my profession." 

I could see the tears start from the man's 
eyes as he said this. 

"Frequently when I am playing the fool in 
the streets, I feel very sad at heart I can't help 
thinkingof the bare cupboards at home ; but 
what's that to the worid? l*ve often and often 



been at home all day when it has be* 
wi^ no food at all, either to give my o 
or take myself, and have gone out at i 
the public-houses to sing a comic s 
play the funnyman for a meal — yo 
miagine with what feelings for the part 
when I've come home I've call'd my o 
up from their beds to share the loai 
brought back with me. I know three < 
clowns as miserable and bad off as 
The way in which our profession is ru 
by the stragglers or outsiders, who an 
men who are good tradesmen. They tak 
clown's business only at holiday or fsi 
when there is a little money to be pieke 
it, and after that they go back to th« 
txtides ; so Uiat, you see, we, who are oU 
continue at it Uie year llirough, are dep: 
even the little bit of luck we should otl 
have. I know only of another regnlai 
clown in London besides myself. Some i 
of acrobats, to be sure, wiU have a comic < 
ter of some kind or other, to keep the pi 
that is, to amuse the people while the 
is being collected : but Uiese, in gene 
not regular clowns. They are m<^y i 
and got up for the occasion. They « 
don't do anything else but the street 
business, but they are not pantomim 
profession. The street clowns genen 
out with dancers and tumblers. Th< 
some street clowns to be seen with the 
in-the-greens ; but they are mostly i 
who have hired their dress for the 
three days, as the case may be. I thin 
are three regular clowns in the met] 
and one of these is not a professioB 
never smelt the sawdust, I know, air 
most that I have known have been 
makers before taking to the business. 
I go out as a street clown, the first thii 
is a comic medley dance ; and then aft 
I crack a few jokes, and that is the wl 
my entertainment The first part 
medley dance is called * the good St An 
(I was the first that ever danced the p 
the streets) ; then I do a waltz, and n 
with a hornpipe. After that I go thn 
little burlesque business. I fan myse 
one of the school asks me whether I am 
breath ? I answer, * No, the breath is 
me.' The leading questions for the jd 
all regularly prepared beforehand. T 
jokes always go best with our and 
The older they are, the better for the i 
I know, indeed, of nothing new in the 
way ; but even if there was, and it was in a 
deep, it would not do for the public tho 
fares. I have read a great deal of*] 
but the jokes are nearly all too high 
indeed, I cant say I think very mu(& o 
myself. The principal way in which I 
up my jokes is through associating with 
clowns. We dont make our jokes oursel' 
fact, I never knew one clown who did. 
own that the street clowns like a little c 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



121 



and occasionally a good deoL They 
«e in a measure obligated to it. I can't fancy 
a cioirn being funny on small beer ; and I 
Bsvcr in all my life knew one who was a 
tMlBCaUer. I think such a person would be 
a onioiia character, indeed. Most of the street 
dovaa die in the workhouses. In their old 
i|« they are generally rery wretched and 
fQff«ty.ctricken. I cant say what I think 
vill be the end of me. I darent think of it, 

k%em minutes afterwards I saw this man 
fcMHi! aa Jim Crow, with his face blackened, 
ilierinc and singing in the streets aa if 
ha waa the lightest-hearted fellow in all 



The Pksxt-Gait Clowx. 

Tn "'proiiBsaional** firom whom I elicited my 
kiio«led|^ of penny-gaff clowning is known 
■Mog hia companions as ^ Funny Billy." He 
■fitted not a little anxious to uphold the 
jgnity of the penny theatre, frequently assur- 
iig ne that ** they brought things out there 
■ a ilyle that would astonish some of the big 
kmea." Iffia whole being seemed ?rrapped 

a hi these cheap dramatic saloons, and he 
I me wonderful stories of first-claas actors 
H ** The Bffingham,** or of astonishing per- 
faBcn at ** The Bower," or ** Rotunda." He 
ua iorpfiaed, too, that the names of several 
tf the artiates there were not familiar to me, 
ad fteqnently pressed me to go and see so- 
ad-aola ** Beadle," or hear so-and-so sing his 
"Oh! dont I like my Father !" 

Baadea being a clown, my informant was 
ilio '^an author," and several of the most 
■HeMftil ballets, pantomimes, and dramas, 
IbA of late years have been brought out at the 
(Star (■&, have, I was assured, proceeded from 



^Uapen." 

Li build, even in his every-day clothes, he 
xeaembles a down — perhaps from the 
of his chest and high-buttoned 
or from the shortness and crooked- 
of hia legs ; but he was the first I had 
whoee form gave any indication of his 



Sboe the beginning of this year (185C) he 

ftM nfeo np clowning, and taken to pantaloon* 

iaginateady for "on last boxing-day," he in- 

foRBed me, ^ he met with an accident which 

I ^"Vrraird his jaw, and caused a swelling in 

\m cheek aa ^ he had an apple inside his 

■ aoeth." This he said he could conceal in his 

Mka-np as a pantaloon, but it had ruined him 

for down. 

ffia statement was as follows : — 

**rm a clown at penny ga£& and the cheap 

tkcitres, for some of the gafis are twopence 

nd threepence-— that's as high as they run. 

^ Botonda in the Blackfriars'-road is the 

Wgest in London, and that will hold one 

^iiOQttiid comfortably seated, and they give 

I ^in one evening, at one penny, twopence, 



and threepence, and a first-class entertain- 
ment it is, consisting of a variety of singing 
and dancing, and ballets, from one hour and 
a-half to two hoiurs. There are no penny 
theatres where speaking is legally allowed, 
though they do do it to a great extent, and at 
all of 'em at Christmas a pantomime is played, 
at which Clown and Pantaloon speaks. 

** The difi'erence between a penny-gaff clown 
and a fair, or, as we call it, a canvas down, is 
this,-— at the fairs the principal business is 
outside on the parade, and there's very little 
done (sddom more than two scenes) inside. 
Now at the penny gafis they go through c^ 
regular pantomime, consisting of from six to 
eight scenes, with jumps and all complete, 
as at a regular theatre ; so that to do clown to 
one of them, you must be equal to those that 
come out at the regular theatres ; and what's 
more, you must strain every nerve ; and what's 
more still, you may often please at a regular 
theatre when you won't go down at all at a 
penny gafil The circus clown is as different 
from a penny-gaff down as a coster is from 
a tradesman. 

**What made me turn down was this. I 
was singing comic songs at the Albion Saloon, 
Whitechapel, and playing in ballets, and 
doing the scene-painting.' Business was none 
of the best. Mr. Paul Herring, the celebrated 
clown, was introduced into the company as a 
draw, to play bidlets. The ballet which he 
selected was *The Barber and Beadle;' and 
me being the only one who played the old 
men on the estabUshment, he selected me to 
play the Beadle to his Barber. He compli- 
mented me for what I had done, when the 
performance was over, for I done my utter- 
most to gain his applause, knowing him to be 
such a star, and what he said was — I think — 
deserved. We played together ballets for up- 
wards of nine months, as well as pantomimes, 
in which I done the Pantaloon ; and wo had 
two clear benefits between us, in which we 
realised three pounds each, on both occasions. 
Then Mr. Paul Herring was engaged by Mr. 
Jem Douglass, of the Standard, to perform 
with the great cloMrn, Mr. Tom Matthews, for 
it was intended to have two downs in the 
piece. Ho having to go to the Standard for 
the Christmas, left about September, and we 
was without a clown, and it was proposed that 
1 should play the clown. 1 accepted the offer, 
at a salary of tbiiny-live shillings a-week, 
under Hector Simpson, the great pantomimist 
—who was proprietor. This gentleman was 
well known as Uie great dog-and-bear man of 
Covent Garden, and vaiious other theatres, 
where he played Vultuitine and Orson with a 
living bear. He showed rac vaiions things 
that I were deficient in, and with what I knew 
n^yself we went on admiringly well ; and I 
continued at it as clown for upwards of a year, 
and became a great favourite. 

" Iremember clowning last Christmas ( 1850) 
particularly, for it was a sad year for mc, and 



1298 



LOhDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOM. 



one of the busiest times I have ever known. 
I met with my accident then. I was wox^ed 
to death. First of all, I had to do mj re- 
hearsals ; then I had the scene-painting to go 
on with, which occupied me night and day, and 
what it brought me in was three shillings a- 
daj and three shillings a-night The last 
scene, eqnal to a pair of flats, was only given 
to me to do on Ghxistmas-eve, to accomplish by 
the bozing'day. I got them done by five 
o'clock at Christmas morning, and then I had 
to go home and complete my dress, likewise 
my little boy's, who was engaged to sing and 
play in ballets at two shillings a-night ; and he 
was only five years old, bat very clever at 
singing, combating, and ballet performing, as 
also the illustrations of the Grecian statues, 
which he first done when he was two and a 
half years old. 

** The pantomime was the original Statue 
Blanche, as performed by Joe Grimaldi, as Mr. 
Hector Simpson had produced it — for it was 
under his superintendence — at Govent Garden 
Theatre. It's title was, * The Statue Blanche, 
or Harlequin and the Magic Cross.' I was 
very successftil on the boxing.nii^t, but on the 
second occasion of my acting in it I received 
an accident, which laid me up for three months, 
and I was not off my oed for ten weeks. 

*' I had. pre^-ious to this, played clown very 
often, esi>ecially on the Satmrday evenings, for 
the Jews, for I was a great favourite with 
them ; so for, that I knew they would go fa» 
and near to serve me. I had performed in 
• Harlequin Blue Beard,* and * Harlequm Merry 
Milliners, or The Two Pair of Lovers,' and 
several others, fh)m eight to ten of them ; but 
that was during the summer season. But I 
had never had a chance of coming out at 
Christmas before, and to me it was quite an 
event, and there's no doubt I should have 
prospered in it only for my accident. 

" This accident was occasioned by this. 
During the comic scene — the scene of the 
stripping of the chUd — they allowed an in. 
experienced person to play the part of the 
Beadle, and the doll for the child was stuffed 
with oak sawdust, and weighed twenty-six 
pounds. He took it up by the leg and 
struck me a blow in the face, which dislocated 
the jaw-bone, and splintered it all to pieces. 
I went through the pantomime with the rem- 
nants of the broken jaw still in my face, 
having then four hours to perfonn, for we 
played sixteen houses that boxing^day, to 
upwards of firom three to four thousand peo> 
pie, and we began at half-past eleven in 
the day, and terminated at twelve at night. 
I had met with great approbation the whole 
of the time, and it was a sad event for me. 
It was quite accidental was my accident, and 
of course I bore the man no malice for one, 
but more blamed the manager for letting him 
come on. 

" When I had done that night, after my 
blow, I felt very fatigued, and my face was vety 



sore. I was completely jawlocke 
imagined I had caught a cold. It 
awfully every time I closed my tee 
drowned my feelings in a little brand 
forth; and the next night I resi 
downing. After I had done that e 
found I was so vexy bad I could hart 
and going home with my wife and o 
was obliged to sit down every othi 
took, which occupied me very near t 
to do the mile and a quarter. I wei 
and never got up again for ten we< 
brought on fever again. Ahl whi 
suffered, God, and God only, knows 
the doctor came, he said I were imd 
severe fever, and he thought I had 
cold, and that I had the erysiphilas, 
being so swollen that it hung on my 
as they propped me up with pillows. 
nothing about it. He made 'em I 
face with poppy-heads, and wash m 
out with honey, which drove me o 
mind, for I was a fortnight deranged, 
told me, that whilst I was mad I hat 
very ill to her — poor thing I — ^for I wc 
anybody oome near me but her ; f 
she'd come I'd seize her by the hair, 
she was the man who had broke my 
once Inear strangled her. I was mad,^ 
Ah! what I suffered then, nobod 
Through that accident my wife and 
has had many a time to go without 
Everything was sold then to keep mc 
workhoase — even my poor little 
frocks. My poor wife saved my life, i 
did, for three doctors gave me up. I doi 
they knew what I had. The teeth i 
but the mouth was closed, and I coul 
it. They thought I had an abscess 1 
they out me three or four times in tl 
open the gathering. At lost they i 
the jaw-bone was smashed. "SXln 
better, the doctor told me he could d 
for me, but give me a letter to Dr. F 
at the King's College Hospital. I wei 
and he examined and probed the jav 
the incision under the gland of the ; 
then he said he must take the jaw ot 
I would consult my friends and h 
they said first ; and wiUi the idea a 
operation, and being so weak, I actual 
down in the passage as I was leaving 

"Ah! fancy my distress to mokt 
hit, and everj'body to compliment m< 
did, and to see a prospect of almos 
money, and then suddenly to be thr( 
and be told it was either life or deatl 

" I wouldn't undergo the operatic 
went home, and here comes forti 
pulled out the teeth with a pair of 
pincers, and cut open my face wit 
knife to take out the bits of bone. I 
been a prudent, sober man, I sho 
died through it. 

** There was a friend of mine who 
a broth^ to me, and he stuck to : 



LONDON LABOUR ASD THE LONDON POOR, 



123 



inch. There was lots of professionals I had 
tapported in their iU&ess, and they never come 
near lue; only mj dear friend, uiid but for 
him I i^hould have died, for he saved up his 
money to get me port wine and such things. 

"Many a time Tre gone out when I was 
better to sing comio songs at concerts, when 
I could feel the hits of bone jangling in my 
mouth. But, sir, I had a wife and family, 
and they wanted food. As it was, my poor 
wile had to go to the workhouse to be con- 
fined. At one time I started off to do away 
with myself. I parted with my wife and 
children, and went to say good-by to my 
good friend, and it was he who saved my lil\>. 
If it hadn't been for him it would have been 
agooser with me, for I was prepared to finish 
all. He walked about with me and reasoned 
me out of it, and si^s he, ' What on earth will 
become of the wife and the children ? ' 

" Im sufficiently well now to enable me to 
reinime my old occupation, not as Glown but as 
Pantaluon. 

•* Alt^jgethcr — taking it all in all — I was 
ihKi years as clown, and vciy successful and 
a great favourite with the Jews. My standing 
njbry for comic singing and dofiTi was eighteen 
riiiUmgs a-week; but tlien at Christmas it 
WIS always rose to thirty shillings or tliirty- 
fire shillings. Then I did the writing and 
painting, such as the placards for the (Uitside ; 
loeh as, *This saloon is open this evening,'. ' \ i r 
•ad such-like; and that, on tlie average, would |-*^o^'-"*c^ ^^ • 
bring mo in eight shillings a-week. 

**There was seven men and tlireo females in 
my company when we played * Harlequin Blue 
Beard,' for that's the one I shall describe to 
you, and that we played for a considerable 
time. I was manager at the time, and 1 
atvays was liked by the company, for I never 
ibed them or anything like that ; fur, you see, 
I knew that to take sixpence from a poor man 
was to take a loaf of bread from tho children. 

"This pantomime was of my own writing, 
and I managed the chorus and the dances, and 
lH I painted the scenery*, too, and moulded 
fte masks — about six altogether — and then 
•fterwards played clo\vn. All this was in- 
daded in my salary of eighteen shillings a- 
veek, and that was the top price of the com- 



He drives lover off stage, and is about to take 
Fatima back to cottage, when castle gates 
at back opens and discovers Blue Beard in 
gondola, which crosses the stage in the waters. 
Blue Beard wears a mask and a tremendous 
long sword, which takes two men to pull 
out. He's afterwards Clown, and I played the 
part 

" Several other gondolas cross stage, and 
when the last goes off the chorus begins in 
the distance, and increases as it approaches, 
and is thus : 

' In fire or in water, in earth or in air : 
Wako \ip, old Blue Beard* these good things to 

shuro : 
Wako up I wako up I wake old up Blue Board, 

theao ijpood things to share.* 

"Then comes Blue Beard's march, and 
enter troops, followed by Shackaback in a hurry. 
He's Blue Beard's servant. He bears on Ma 
shoulder an immense key, which he places in 
the middle of stage. He then comes to the 
front with a scroll, wliich he exhibits, on 
which is written : 



' Blue Board comes this rery day, 
A debt of gratitude to wiy : 
Aye, you noodn't trouble, it is all right, 
lie inieuda to wed Fatima this very ni^jht.* 

At which they all become alarmed, and in an 
immense hxury of music enters Blue Beard 
majestically. Ho sings, to the tune of * The 



" The first scene was with a cottage on tho 
left hand and with the surroundhig countiy 
ia the back ; three rows of waters, with the 
distant view of Blue Beard's c»Lstle. Enters 
the lover (he's the Harlequin) in a disj,aiiso 
diissed as a Tiu-k ; ho explains in thf panto- 
inime that he should like to make the lady in tlie 
Cdtlage his bride (which is Fatima, and at'ter- 
^WiU Columbine). He goes to the cottage 
Mul knocks three times, when she appears at 
the window. She comes out and dances with 
him. At the end of the dance tlio old man 
comes in, to the tune of »Koa.st Beef of Old 
England.* He wears a big mask, and is the 
^4ther to Fatima, and afterwards Pantaloon. 



When first I saw that lady, 

As you may plainly aoo, 

I thoucrht Hhe was tho handsomest girl 

As over there could bo ; 

8uch a cheerful chubby girl was she^ 

With such a pair of eyes. 

With such a mouth, and such a noso, 

That she ilid nie so nurimso : 

Which made me cry out, 

Hal Hal' 

" Tho lover from tlie side says : 

* You*ro no credit to your dada.' 

"Then Blue Beard looks romid fiercely, 
and his mask is made with eyes to work with 
strings : 

' But I shall him surprlso 
Whon I opens my eyes,' 

(and he opens a tremendous pair of saucer 
eyes), 

' That talks of my dear dada.' 

Then the music goes * Ha ! ha ! ' As he draws 
his sword into the army of four men, Shacka- 
back gels it on the nose. 

"Then Blue Beard goes direct to the old 
man and embraces him, and shows him a big 
purse of money. He then goes to the young 
lady, but she refuses him, and says she would 
sooner wed the young trooper. The old man 
gets in a rage, when enters Demon unseen by 
uU; he waves over their headi ; they then catch 
hold of hands and dance round the key again, 
to the tune of * The Boast Beef of Old Kug- 



Xo. LXII. 



124 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



land.' Then begins a choras which is thus, 
to the time of * Stoney Batter :' 

'Bound thlB mof^ic key 
Oftily let us trudge it ; 
Hoping eomething new 
Will be brought to our ClulBtmas budget. 

But a aong about a key. 
Is but a doleAil matter. 
So well sing one of our own. 
And we'll call it Stoney Batter. 
Bi too loo zal loo.' 

(Fairies from the side :) 

'Bitoolooralxidow* 
(Others :) 

* Bl too loo ral roo, loo ral lido.' 

''After dancing roimd key. Blue Beard 
orders two of the troops to seize the girl and 
carry her to the castle. Then they catch 
hands ond begin singing, to the tune of * Fine 
Young Bachelors :' 

* Here'* a \o\\j lot of us. 
Fine Tundsh gcntlomen ; 
With plenty of money in our purso, 
Fine Turkish gentlemen,' Ac 4ic. 

*'And the scene closes on this. Then 
the lover just crosses, so as to give time to 
arrange the back scene. He vows vengeance 
on Bliio Beard. Then scene opens, and dis-, 
covers a chamber with Fatiraa on couch, and 
Demon behind with a large heart, on the 
scene over which is in illuminated letters : 

* Whosoe'er this dagger takes, 
The magic spells oTBlue Beaxd breaks.' 

The large key is placed at the foot of the 
couch on which she is laying. We don't in- 
troduce the haunted chamber scenes, as it 
would have been too lengthened ; but it was 
supposed that she had been there and exa- 
mined it, and terror had overcome her and 
she had swooned. That's when the audience 
sees her. We couldn't do all the story at a 
penny gafi, it was too long. To return to the 
plot. 

** Enter Fairy, who dances round the stage, 
and sees the heart. She goes and snatches Uie 
dagger ; then a loud crash, and the key falls 
to pieces on the stage. 

^* I had five shillings given me as a present 
for that scene, for I had painted the scene all 
arches, and round every pillar was a serpent 
with fire coming from the mouth. I produced 
that pantomime, so that altogether it did not 
cost thirty shillings, because each man found 
his own dress, don't you see. 

'* After the crash enters Blue Beard. He 
says the lady has broken the key, and he 
is about to kill her; when enter lover, and he 
has a terrific combat, in which they never hit 
a blow (like a phantom-fight) ; but the lover 
is about to be struck to the ground, when 
enters Fairy, who speaks these words : 



* Hold ! turn and turn is the Torkshire way. 

Yoti think ours. Now your dog shall have itadnr* 
Behold!' 

^ Then the scene falls, and discovers a fauj 
palace at back, with fairies, who sing : 

' Gome, listen, gentle lover. 

Come, listen unto me ; 
Be guided by our faixy queen. 
Who gained your liberty.' 

'* They all look dismayed at one anotheii 
and go to the sides ready for changing their 
dresses for the comic woric 

'' The Fairy Queen then says : 

* Tou, the true lover, I think knows no sin. 
Therefore grace our pantomime as Harlequin.* 

** And turning to the lady she adds : 

' N'ay, young lady, do not pine. 
But attend him as his faithfiil Columbtna.' 

<* Turning to Blue Beard : 

' Tou, Blue Beard, a man of great renown. 
Shall grace our pautomime as Christoias Clown.' 

**Then Clown comes forward, and criei: 

* Halla! ha, ha, ha! here we are ! Shobbus is 
out;' (that's the Jewish Sunday); and, oh 
dear ! how they used to laugh at that ! 

<* Then she turns to the old man : 

*Tou, old man, you've been a silly loon. 
Attend him as slippery fidgetty Pantaloon I* 

^ Then as she's going off she says : 

* Ah ! I'd almost forgotten ; 
Never miud. it is all ri^ht; 
Demon of the magic key. 
Attend as Sprite.' 

*' Then the fairies sing : 

' We fairies danco, we fairies sing. 
Whilst the silver moon is beaming ; 
We fairies dance, we fairies sing, 
To please oiur Fairy Queen.' 

"Then there is blue fire, and the scent 
closes, and the comic business begins. 

** Clown dances first with Harlequin, and at 
the end of trip hollars out : *Ha, here we are r 
Then ho sings out, each time Harlequin beats 
him, * A, E, I,' (Pantaloon drops in and gels 
a blow, 1) ; and Clown says, * Tuppence ! i^ 
right, you owe me nothing; I shan't give you 
no change.' 

"Then there's a photography scene, and 
Clown comes on and says, * Here, I say, what 
shall we do for a living ? ' Then Pantaloon says, 

* We'll become dancing-masters.* The Clown 
saj-s, * They'll take Ukenesses.' 

• * All, here's somebody coming !* 
'Enter a swell with white ducks, and a 

blacking-boy follows, says, * Clean your boetSy 
sir?' Clown asks him to dean his. As the 
boy is beginning, Harlequin bang^ him, and 
he knocks the boy over. Next bang he gets 
he hits Pantaloon, and says he did it. Panta- 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



129 



looD says, ' I never touched you ;' and Clown 
Tpplies, 'Then don*tdo it again.' Then I'd give 
'em a rub np on the smoking mania. I'd 
say to boy, ' Here, boy, take this farden to get 
yomself a pipe of tobacco, little boys is fond 
of smoking;' and Pantaloon would add, * Yes, 
men's left off.' Boy goes off to buy the to- 
bacco, and leaves his blacking-box, which 
Clown promises to take care of and clean the 
boots. He hollows out, 'Clean your boots?' 
and Pantaloon puts his foot down, and gets 
Us toes rapped. Enter a lady, who asks where 
she can have her portrait taken, — ^Yes, raarm ; 
orer there, — Clown steals parcel. When lady 
is gone. Clown discovers parcel to contain 
blank canls. This is what he takes the por- 
traits on, and it was at a time when they was 
all the rage at a shilling. Clown then says, 
lie's taking portraits, and mokes a camera out 
of the blacking-box. He cuts a hole in the 
box, and sticks the blocking-bottle for a lens. 
Then he places the box on Pantaloon's back 
for a stand. Then, of course, Clown knocks 
liimover, and he asks what that's for. * Why, if 
you're a stand, what do you fall for ? I never 
see such a stand.' Then ladies and gentle- 
aien come in to have their portraits taken, 
and Clown smears the cards with blacking 
and gives it^ and asks a shilling ; when they 
pramble and won't pay, he rubs the blacking 
in their faces. General row, and the scene 
changes to a street-scene. There's another 
tiq) by Harlequin and Columbine, and enters. 
Gown in a hurry with six fish, and he meets 
Pantaloon. 'Look'ee here, what I've found!' 
•Oh, fair halves ! ' 'All right! sit down, and you 
ihall have them.' Pantaloon declines, and Clown 
knocks him down, and they begin sharing fish. 
* There's one for you and one for me, another 
for you and another for me, another for you 
and another for me.' * How many have you 
got?' Bsk% Clown, and Pantaloon says, *One — 
two — three.' Clown says, * No ! you've got 
more than three.' Then, taking one up, he 
asks, 'How many is that?' — *One.' Taking an- 
other up, * How many's that ?' Pantaloon ex- 
eliims, * Two ! ' Clown says, * Then two and 
one is three,' and takes up another, and asks 
liow many that is. Pantaloon exclaims, 'Three ! ' 
i^wn says, ' Then three and three makes six.' 
down then counts his own, and says, ' I've 
only got three; you must give me these three 
to make me six. That's fair halves. Ain't 
you satisfied ?' ' No I ' ' Then take that,' and 
he knocks him over with a fish. 

"The next scene is a public-house — 'The 
f^masons' Arms, a select club held here.' 
After trip by Harlequin and Columbine, enters 
Clown and Pantaloon. 'Look'ee here! it's a 
pnblic-house ! let's have half a pint of half-and- 
half.' Clown hollows, 'Now ramrod I' meaning 
landlord, and he comes on. ' Why don't you 
Attend to gentlemen ? ' ' What's your pleasure, 
ab?' * Hidf a pint of half-and-half for me and 
my Mend.' He brings a tumbler, which Har- 
lequin breaks, and it comes in half. * Hallo !' 



cries Clown ; * this is mm half-and-half ! 
Here's half for you and half for me.* 

*' Then they say, * I say, here's somebody 
coming.' Enter two Freemasons, who give 
each other the sign by shaking both hands, 
bumping up against each other, whispering 
in each other's ear, and going into the public- 
house. Clown then calls the landlord, and 
says he belongs to the club. Landlord asks 
him for the sign. Clown says he's got it over 
the door. He then takes Pantaloon and 
shakes his hands, and bumps him, and asks 
if that is the sign. The landlord says 'No.' 
' Is that it?' * No, this is,' and he gives Clown a 
spank; and he passes it to Pantaloon, and 
knocks him down. * That's the sign ; now we've 
got it between us.* *Yes, and I've got the 
best half.' 

*' Clown says, ' Never mind, we will get in ; ' 
and he goes to the door and knocks, when the 
club descends and strikes them on the head. 
CXovm. then tells Pantaloon to go and knock, 
and he'U watch and see where it comes fVom. 
The club comes down again, and knocks Pan- 
taloon on the head ; but Clown sees from 
whence it comes and pulls a man in fleshings 
out of the window. Clown and Pantaloon 
pursues him round stage, and he knocks them 
both over, and jumps through a trap in the 
window with a bottle on it, marked ' Old Tom,' 
and a scroll falls down, written * Gone to 
blazes.' Pantaloon follows, and flap falls, on 
which is written, ' To be left till called for.* 
Clown is about to follow, when gun fires and 
scroll falls with ' Dead letter' on it. Pantaloon 
is bundled out by landlord and others ; gene- 
ral row; policemen springing rattles, fireworks, 
Sec. 

" There are from four to five comic scenes 
like tliis. But it would take too long to de- 
scribe them. Besides, we don't do the same 
scenes every evening, but vary them each 
night. 

"Then comes the catch, or the dark scene, 
in which Clown, Pantaloon, Harlequin, and 
Columbine are in the dark, and seize one 
another. 

* Hold I you've done your best with all your might; 
Aud we'll give our friends a chaigo another 
nigiit.' 

*' You see the poetry is always beautifully 
adapted to ourselves. They've very clever 
fairies. 

** We in generally finale with that there : 

' Wo fairies dance; we fairies sing. 
Whilst the silver moon is beajooimg ; 
We fairies dance, wo fairies sing, 
And we have pleased our Fairy Queen. 

"Then the bell rings, and the man who 
keeps order cries out, * Pass out ! pass out I' 

** The performance generally takes from one 
hour and a half to an hour and three-quarters, 
and we do three of 'em a night. It makes the 
perspiration run off you, and eveiy house I 



126 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOS. 



have a wet shirt. The only rest I have is with 
any boy singing * Hot codlms.* >Vhen they call 
for the song I sa)', *Yc8, yes; all right; you 
shall have them; only there's a chip of mine 
will sing it for me,' and I introduce my httle 
boy— of four then— to sing. 

"The general pay for Clowns at penny ex- 
hibitions is averaging ttom twenty to twenty*. 
five shillings a-week. Yon can say without 
exaggeration, that there are twenty of these 
penny exhibitions in London. They always pro- 
duce a new pantomime at Christmas ; and all 
the year ruund, in summer as well as winter, 
they bring 'em out, when business is shy, for a 
draw, whi(>Ji they alwayv find them answer. 

" A Clown that can please at a penny 
gafi", is ca]table of gi\ing satisfaction at any 
theatre, for the audience is a very difficult one 
to entertain. They have no delicacy in 'em, 
and will hiss in a moment if anything dis- 
pleases tliem. 

"A pantomime at a penny exhibition will 
run at Christmas three weeks or a month, if 
very successful ; and during that time it's played 
to upwards of twelve hundn-d persons a-night, 
according to the size of the house, for few 
penny ones hold more than four hundred, 
and that's three times a-uight. The Rotunda 
in the Jtlackfriars'-road, and the Olympic Cir- 
cus in the Lower Marsh, Lambeth, dr) an im- 
mense business, for they hold near a thousand 
each, and that's three thousand spectators the 
night. 

** When the pantomime is on we only do a 
little comic singing before it begins playing." 

TuE Canvas Clown. 

A TALL, fine-looking young fcUow, with a 
quantity of dark hair, which he wore tucked 
behind his ears, obhged me with his experience 
as a olo^Ti at the fairs. He came to me 
dressed in a fashionable **i)alutot," of a ginger- 
bread colour, which, without being questioned 
on the subject, he told me ho had bought in 
Petticoat Luiie for three shillings. 

I have K<.>1dom seen a finer-built youth than 
tliis clown, for he was proportioned like a 
statue. The peculiarity of his face was that, 
at the junction of the forehead with the nose 
there was a rising, instead of a hollow, some- 
what like that which is seen in Homan anti- 
quities. 

His face, whilst talking, was entirely with- 
out emotion, and he detailed the business 
outside tlie show, on the parade, in a sing- 
song voice, like a child saving its lesson ; and 
altliough he often said " This makes 'em shout 
with laughter,** his own face remained as so- 
lemn as a parish clerk's. 

He furnished me with the following parti- 
culars of his life : — 

•* On and off, I've been clowning these 
twelve year. Pre\'iou8 to that time, I have 
done busking in pubhc-houses, and comic 
singing, and ballet performing at penny exhi- 



bitions ; as well as parading oatside shows at 
fairs. I've done clowning at near every place. 
at fairs and in the streeta, along with a school 
of acrobats, and at circuses, and at penny 
gafis, and at the Standard, and such-like. 1 
first commenced some twelve years ago, st 
Enfield fair. It was a travelling concern I wsi 
with,— the 'Thespian Temple,' 'or JohiW 
son's Theatre,— where I was engaged to pa- 
rade on the outside as a walking ^^entlemaiu 
There was no clown for the pantomime, for he 
had disappointed us, and of course they couldnt 
get on without one ; so, to keep the concern 
going, old Jolmson, who knew I was a good 
tumbler, came up to me, and said ' he had 
iianti vampo, and your nabs must fake it;* 
which means, — We have no clown, and yoQ 
must do it. So I done the clowning on the 
parade, and then, wlien I went inside, I'd pot 
on a jiair of Turkish trousers, and a long 
cloak, and hat and feathers, to play * Bobert, 
duke of Normandy,' in the first piece, 

** You SCO the iKi-forraances consisted of all 
gag. I don't supp(»so anybody knows what 
the words are in the piece. Everj'body at a 
show theatre is expected to do general busi- 
ness, and wln^n you're short of people (as 
we was at .Johnson's, for wo played * Robert, 
duke of Normandy,' with tlireo men and twe 
gills). Clown is expected to come on and slip 
a cloak over his dress, and act tragedy in the 
first piece. We don't make u^) so heavy for 
the clown for fjiirs, only a Uttle dab of red oa 
the cheeks, and powder on the face ; so we*Tt 
only just got to wipe off the * slop * when ifk 
in the way. You lot)ks rather pale, that's alL 
The dress is hidden by the ono we put over 
it, 

*♦ The plot of * Robert, duke of Normandy,' 
is this : He and his slave Piccoli* come 
I in ; and after a little busini.»ss between 
I them, oil gagging, he says, * Slave ! get 
! ba*rk to the castle ! ' he answers, * Your orders 
i shall be atU'uded to I ' Thou he says, ' At the 
peril of your life, and prevent the fair Ange- 
line to escape ! ' That's the first scene. In 
1 the second, two of Ilobert's slaves attack his 
j rival, and then Robert rushes in and pretends 
I to save him. He cries * Hold! two to one I' 
The men go off, sajing, *Well, we part as 
fiiends ! when next we meet, we meet as foes !' 
As soon as Robert leaves the rival the lady 
comes in, and tells him slie is flying from Ro- 
bert's castle, and that Robert has seduced 
her, and seeks her life. She tells him that 
tlie man who just left him is he. ' It is 
false!' he suys; * that is my friend I* She 
cries, * Test him ! ' * But how ?*' he asks. She 
replies,* Follow me to tlie statue, at the bot- 
tom of the grove, and then I will tell you I ' 
Then the third comes on. Enter Robert and 
slave, and tlie marble statue discovered: that 
is, it is supposed to be, but it is only Angelina 
dressed up. H«> gives tlie slave instnictionR to 
put a ring on the finger of the statue, — for 
he is supposed to have dealings with Old Nick^ 



LOimON LABOUR AKD THE LOSDOS I'OUU. 



Ii7 



ftt erery tiin« he pat a ziDg on the statne 
I demand a irictim. He teUs the slave to 
a ring OD the finger, and pronounce 
irordi : *• When it may pleaae your most 
na migesty to seek ^rour hnsband, to 
victim, yon irill find hun here ! ' *No, no, 
se— there ! ' pointing to BoberL The 

half draws his sword, and exclaims, 
b! what ho!* without touching him. 
s the rival, who demands satisfaction of 
1 ; who sa>*s, ' "What can I do to satisfy 

ibr he's in a deuce of a go now. He 
tells him to kneel to the statue, and 

he is not Robert, dnko of Normandy. 
id of that he calls to the servant, and 
lim to put the ring on ; but Kobert, the 
, is in a dence of a way, tearing his 

The servant does it, and exclaims, * I 
lone it ; but would you believe it, when 
ed it on the finger, tlie finger beciime 
sed ! ' Robert cries, * Slave, tb<m art 
I if I find that it is false I will cleave 
to the enrth I ' Robert examines the 
, and exclaims, *Alas! it is too true I' 
le kneels to the statne and siiys, • I 
that I am ' — and he's goiuj; to say, * not 

of Normandy,' but Uie statue is too 

for him, and adds, * Robi>rt, duke of 
■ndy!' And then the comic slave pops 
ead round, and pronoimces, ' Oh, tlie 

' Then the ri\'al stabs him, and he follK 

wounded, and then he's triumphant; 
I pen'orth of blue fire finishes tlic 

* and then ding ! ding ! dong 1 and 
goes tlie curtain. 'NVe alwa^'s have 

Ire, — a pen'orth each house, — andthut 
; it go. Sometimes there are two friends 
piece ; but it all depends upon M-heth(.>r 
wre is powerfully cast or not We usually 

* the two friends into one, or does away 
•em all tojrether. ' Robert, duke of 
andy,' is a never-failing fair piece, and 
rays cIo^'s it overj-yeAr. Thai and * Rluo 
, or Female Curiosity,' and * Fair Kosa- 
, or the Bower of Woodstock,' are 
ock pieces. After the curtain has been 
three minutes it goes up again, and tlie 

goes in and says, — 

* Elr<jii of th« mountain, dale, and dell, 
Tnia yu\in^ maid to pleaue within her cell, 
Atteud unto us, one und all — 

liHcen to your potent master's calL' 

hen an of us at the sid(>s put their 
s in their mouths and howl like Indians. 
"s generally a cue given of * Now, demons.' 
that the heavy man says :** 

* Too, jomig man, that knows no dn. 
Appear as russet-booted Harlequin.' 

illed him russet-booted, because he had 
playing the lover in the first piece. At 
idson's they called him * Spangled Har- 
I,* but old Johnson couldn't do that, he 
t no wardrobe. Then the heavy man con- 



' And you, younrmiid. no lonirer pine, 
Atteud him as hia (aithAil C<dumbine.' 

Then he goes on : — 

' Two more slaves will I rise flnom out the uo&thom- 

abledocp, 
Who for a long time have been in perpatual aleep; 
They, too, shall share my boon — 
ApiK>ar as Clown and tottering Pantaloon. 
Now away ! begin your magic sfiort. 
And briug mo buck a good reporL' 

Then I cried, * Hulloa! here we are !' and the 
sports begin. 

"The first iripy as we calls it — a dance, to 
use your terms — is Harlequin comes in with 
Columbine for a hornpipe. If he cant dance, 
Clown, as soon as he begins, cries, * Here we 
ai-e ! ' and rushes in and drives them ofil 

"After that, Clown runs on and 8ays» 

* Hero we ore I ' and knocks; Pantaloon down i 
whi^ exclaims, * Oh ! ain't I got the tooth-ache ! 
Clown says, * Let me feel your tooth. Oh, it's 
quite loose ! I'll get a bit of string and soon 
have it out.' Clown goes off for string. Pan- 
taloon singing out, * Murder ! murder ! ' Clovra 
returns with string and a pistol, and then 
ties the string, and cries, * Here goes one, end 
now it's two, and hero goes three,' and fiiea 
and pulls a wooden tooth, as big as your fist, 
with four sharp prongs to it. Ivo had the» 
teeth often as big as a quartern loaf, but 
I'm talking of my first appearance. Pai'« 
t^oon says, * Here, that's my tooth !' on 1 
Clown replies. * So it is,' and hits him on tha 
head with it. Then he asks Pantaloon if he'j 
iMJtter ; but he answers, ' No, l"m W(/rse. Oh ! 
oil! I've got a cold in my gum ! ' Then a red- 
hot poker id introduced, and he bums him with 
it all round the stage. That concludes the 
first scene. Tlien there's another trip, a would- 
be polka or so; and then comes the bundle - 
scene. Enter a York.Hhiremon — it's mostly 
Harlequins do this, liocause most of the others 
are outside parading, to keei) the crowd 
tof^etlier — he's got a amockfrock on and russet 
boots at Johuson's, and he says, * I've coome up 
hero to Lunnon to see my Dolly. I feel rather 
drj', and I'll just gi' in here to get half-o-point 
of yale. I'll just leave mybunnel outside, and 
keep a strict eye on it, for they say as how 
Lunnon has plenty of thieves in it* Enter 
Clown, very cautiously. He sees the bundle, 
and calls Pantaloon. He tells Pantaloon, * I 
must have it, because I want iL* He goes and 
picks up the bundle, and says to Pantaloon, 

* I shoiddn't wonder but what this bundle be- 
longs to • * Me,' the Yorkshireman says, and 

the Clown says, *Ah, I thought so;' and then 
he takes Pantaloon's hand, and says, * Come 
along, little boy, we shall get into trouble,' and 
leads him ofi". They come on again, and tliis 
time Clown tells I^antaloon to get it ; so he 
goes and picks up the bimdle, and Yorkshire- 
man knocks him down. Clown runs ofi" and 
Pantaloon after. Clown tlien returns on his 
belly, drawing himself on with his hands. 



128 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



He <;ots tlic bnndle in his mouth, and is just 
gni]i«; off when Yorkshireman turns roand, and 
CliAvn seeing liim, fi^ves the bundle to Pan- 
taloon, and says, * Hold this.* Yorkshireman 
seizes Clown and tells him he wants his bundle. 
Pantalfjon having run away with it. Clown 
says, * I haven't got it, starrh me' (that means, 
• search me') ; and there is a regular run over 
the <itai?e rrjing * Hot beef! hot beef!* (in- 
stead of *St(ip thief!*) The Yorkshireman 
collars Pantaloon, and says, * I'll take you to 
the station-house,' and Clown exclaims, * Yes, 
and 111 take this bundle down the lane' (mean- 
ing Petticoat-lane, because there is a sale for 
any tiling there). Then comes the catch-scene 
lis we rnll it ; that is, they all come on in the 
dark, Clown singing, * J Miss, puss I have you 
seen my pussy*' Thfn in pops tlie fair}', and 
erics, • Hold I your ningic sports is run, and 
thus I step l»etweon.' Pantaloon adds, *Aye, 
it's all so gay;' and Clown cries, 'Yes, and 
oil serene; ' and the fair}' says, * And witli my 
magic wand I change the scene.' Then every- 
body sings : — 

' Xow our pontoniime's douc. 
Here's ftn end to our fun, 
TVo slmll nhortly couiinunco again : 
Our tricks arc o'er. 
And wo'ro friends onco more. 
Wo shall shortly commcuco :kg:uu.' 

" Thon the curtain falls, and Clown puts his 
head out on one side and exclaims, * It's all,' 
and Pantaloon pops out at the other side and 
adds, * over.' 

" The handing man, who has done Robert, 
then shouts out from tlie top, * Pass out ! ' in a 
sepulchral voice, and a door opens in the side 
of the stage for the people to leave by. That 
day I was with old .Tohnson — we used to call 
him * Snutfy Johnson,' 'cos he carried a lot of 
snuff in his waistcoat pocket — we were very 
busy, and there was a good many people 
waiting on the outside to come in, so we 
only did about two of them regular per- 
formances ; and then about six o'clock in the 
evening the crowd got so great, old Johnson 
used to hollow through the parade-door, over 
people's heads, * John Aderley,' just as we had 
commenced pla}'ing, and that meant * Cut it 
short.' We used to finish it up sharp then, and 
finish all up in six or seven minutes. We used 
to knock liobert the Devil into a very little 
space, doing the scenes, but cutting them 
shoil; and as for the pantomime, wo had 
scarcely commenced witli * Two more slaves 
will I rise fn)m out the unfathomable deep,' 
than we were singing, * Our pantomime's done, 
here's an end to our fun.' Sometimes the 
people would grumble awful, and at others 
they laughed to see how they was swindled. 

*• I got on very fair on my first appearance 
as Clown, considering the circumstances, but 
I had, you see, four of the best parading comic 

men opposing me. There was Teddy W as 

Silly Billy, and Black Sambo as Black Fop, 
and Funny Felix as ring clown, and Steve 



Sanderson, another clown, at Frazier's Ciis 
cus, next door to us; and we didn't stand 
much chance at clowning alongside of them, 
as they're the best panulers ont Besides, 
Frazier's booth took nearly all the ground up ; 
and as we drawed up on the ground (that is, 
with the parade-cmriages) late on Sunday 
evening, we were obliged to have a plot next to 
the Circus, and we had the town pump right in 
the audience part, close to the first seat in the 
gallery, and the Obelisk — or rather a cross it 
is — took up one side of the stage, wliich next 
day we used as the castle in Blue Beard, when 
the girl gets up on a ladder to the top of th« 
railings, which had a shutter on 'em, and that 
was Fatima looking out from the spire of the 
castle for her Salem. Ah ! 'twas a great hit, 
for we put an old scene round it, and it had a 
capital etfect. 

•* What we do when we go out clowning to a 
travelling theatro is this. This is what I did 
at Enfield: wi^ anivc<l late and drawed up the 
pnrodo-carriages on the ground, which tba 
gov. had gone cm a-head to secure. Then 
we went to sleep for awhile — pitched on a 
shutter underneath the parade-carriages, for 
it ha<l been wet weather, and we couldn't sleep 
on the canvas for the booth, for it had been 
sopped with rain at Edmonton fair. As soon 
as it was break of day we begun getting up 
the booth, and being short-handed it took na 
till three o'clock before we was ready. YisA 
we had to measure our distances and fix tha 
parade-waggons. Then we planted our king 
pole on tho ono in the centre ; then we pot 
our back -polo on the one near the parade; 
then wo put on our ridge at top, and our side- 
rails; and then we put our side-ridges, and 
sling our rafters. We then roll the tilt up, 
which is for the roof, and it gets heavy with 
dirt, and we haul it up to the top and unndl 
it again and fasten it again ; then we fix the 
sides up, with shutters about six feet square, 
which you see on the top of the travelling 
parade-carriages. We fixes up the theatre 
and the seats which we take with us. All the 
scenes roll up, and is done up in bundles. 
The performci-s drop under the parade-waggons, 
and there's a sacking up to divide the men's 
part from the women. There's a looking- 
glass — sometimes an old bit or a two-pennj 
one starred, or any old thing we can get hold 
of — and the gov. gives you out your dress. 
We always provide our own slips and such- 
like. 

**When we panule outside, it all depends 
upon what kind of Pantaloon you\e got with 
you, OS to what business you can make. 
TMien we first come out on the parade all 
the company is together, and we march round, 
form a half-circle, or dress it, as we say, while 
the band pla}'8 ' Rule Britannia,' or some other 
operatic air. Then the manager generally 
calls out, ' Now, Mr. Menry'man, state the 
nature of the performances to be given here 
to-day.* Then I come forward, and this is the 



LONnON LABOUR AKD THE LONDOyf POOR, 



129 



•us : * Well, ITr. Martin, whot am I to tell 
?• • The truth, sir ! what they'll see here 
'.' * Well, if they stop long enough 
I see a great many people, I shouldn't 
er.' 'Xo, no, sir, I want you to tell 

iriiot they'll see inside our theatre.* 
, sir, they'll see a splendid drama by first- 
performers, of Robert Dookc of Nor- 
y, with a variety of singing and dancing, 
a gfirgeous and comic piuitomime, with 
dresses and scenen% and everjlhing 
ine;l to make this such an entertainment 
s never before witnessed in this town, and 
•r the small charge of three shillings.' 
no, Mr. Menyman, threepence.' * What ! 
pence ? I shan't perform at a threepenny 
.• And then I pretend to go down the 

as if lea\ing ; he pulls me back, and says, 
te here, sir; what are you going to do ?' 
jn't spoil my deputation playing for three- 
!/ * But you must understand, Merry- 

we intend giving them one and all a 
, that the working - classes may ei^joy 
selves as well as noblemen.' * Then & 
\ the case I don't mind, but only for this 

lien I begin spouting again and again, 
rs ending up with * to be witnessed for the 
rharge of threepence.' Then Pantaloon 
8 up to say what he's going to do, and I 
bim the ' nap,' and knock hun on his back. 
lies • I'm down,' and I turn him over and 
him up, and say, *And now you're up.' 
I the company form a half set and do a 
cille. When they have scrambled through 
down will do a comic dance, and then 

burlesque statues. This is the way 
ftatues are done : I go inside and get a 
-broom, and put a large piece of tilt or 
loth round me, and stand just inside the 
ins at the entrance from the parade, 
• to come out when wanted. Then the 
portion of the company get just to the 
/the steps, and Pantaloon says to one of 
, *Did yon speak?* He says, *When?' 
Pantaloon says, *Now;' and the whole 
ake a noise, hollowing out, * Oh, oh, oh ! ' 

they was astonished, but it's only to 
!t attention. Then the gong strikes, and 
TODpets flourishes, and everybody shouts, 
hi ! look here I ' Then, naturally, all the 
e turn towards the caravan to see what's 
Then they clear a passage-way from the 
to the entrance and back, and bring me 
with this bit of cloth before me. The 
3 flourishes again, and they mnke a tre- 
lous tumult, crying out, ' Look here ! look 
!' and when aJl are looking I drop the 
, and then I stand in the position of 
oles, king of Clubs, with a birch-broom 
8 my shoulders, and an old hat on a-top 
y wig. Then the band strikes up the 
e music, and I goes through the statues; 
as AJax defying the lightning, and Cain 
ig his brother Abel; and it finishes up 
the fighting and d^ing Gladiator. As a 



finale I do a back-fall, and pretend to be dead. 
The company then picks me up and carry me, 
lying stiff, on their shoulders round the 
parade. They carry me inside, and shout out, 
*A11 in to begin; now we positively com- 
mence.' Then they drive everybody in off the 
parade. When the public have taken their 
seats then we come strolling out, i>ne at a 
time, till we all get out on the parade again, 
because the place isn't sufficiently full. It's 
what wo call * making a sally.' The check- 
takers at the door prevent anybody leaving if 
they want to come out again. 

" Then I get up to some nonsense again. 
Perhaps I'll get up a lot of boys out of the 
fair, and make 'em sit on the parade in a row, 
and keep a schr)ol, ns I call it. I get an old 
property fiddle, and I tell them, when I play 
they must sing. Then I give out a hymn. 
The bow has a lot of notches in it, and there's 
a bit of wood sticking up in the fiddle; bo 
that when I plays it goes ' ricketty, ricketty,' 
like. This is the hymn I gives out: — 

* When I cftn shoot my rifle clear 

At pi^Ds in the skiee, 
I'll bid ukrcwoU to pork and pc;\s, 
And live on pigeon pies.' 

" Of course, when they sings, they make a 
horrible noise, or even if they dont, I begin 
to wallop them with my bow. I then tell 
them I must teach them something easier 
first. Then I give them — 

' Alas I old Grimes is dead and orotic, 
We no'or ahull soe him more ; 
Ho used to wear a old great coat 
^Vll buttoned down before.' 

Then I finish up by putting on the boys a 
lot of masks, and some have old soldiers' 
coats; and I give them implements of war, 
such as old brooms or sticks, and then I put 
them through their military exercises. I 
stand in front, with the birch -broom as my 
gun, and I tell them they must do as I do. 
Then I cry, * File arms,' and all mark their 
own muskets. I tell them to lay them all 
down; and after they have laid down their 
arms I tell them to shoulder arms, which 
makes a shout, because they haven't got no 
arms. One boy, who is put up to it, says, 
* Fve got no arms ; ' I go up to him and catch 
hold of his arms, and ask him what he calls 
' these here.' Then I make him put them on 
his shoulders, and tell him, that's ' shoulder 
arms.' Then I tell them to ground arms, 
and I do it at the time, stooping down and 
putting my arms on the ground. I then call 
them to attention, and up comes the Pan- 
taloon on a basket-horse, and I tell them 
they are going to be re\iewed by the Duke, 
I give them all the implements again, and 
put them to stand attention. Pantaloon 
gallops round them, reviewing. He wears 
a large flap cocked-hat and soldier's old coat. 
He makes a bit of fun with his horse, making 



180 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR 



it kick, and breaking the ranks of my sol- 
diers. ' Then I quarrel with him about that, 
and he says, * He's a right to do as he likes, 
because he's my superior horse-ifer.' Then 
he orders me to the other end of the parade, 
to stand attention, with my back towards 
the boys. Then he tells them to ride about 
face and charge, and they all run and charge 
me in behind. They run two or three 
times round the parade, still charging mc, 
until I run inside to the theatre, and all tlie 
company shout out, * All in to begin ; we are 
now positively to commence.' We then get 
them in off the parade again, and if. the place 
is full begin ; if not, we gradually crawl out 
again one by one, and one of the girls dunces 
a hompiiMJ or a Highland fling. We then 
make a sally, 'All in again,' and by that time 
we generally begin. 

" This is the parade business that is most 
popular at fairs; we do a few other things, 
but they are all much of a muchness. It's 
ver>' liard work; and I have worked, since 
being Yiixh Snuffy Johnson, seventeen hours 
of a-day ; but then we have not had so much 
to do on the outside. Sometimes I've been 
so tired at night, that I've actually laid down 
in my dress and never washed, but slept like 
that all night. 

*' The general pay for a clown, during fair- 
time, is 5s. or G«. a-day, but that usually ends 
in your moving on the first day ; then 4«. on 
the second, and, perhaps, d«. on the third. The 
reason is, that the second and third day is 
never so good as the first The excuse is, 
that business is not so good, and expenses are 
hea\7 ; and if you don't like it, you needn't 
come again. They don't stand about what 
you agree for ; for instance, if it's a wet day 
and you don't open, there's no pay, Richard- 
son's used, when the old man was alive, to 
be more money, but now it's as bad as the 
rest of 'em. If you go on shares with a 
sharing company it averages about the same. 
We always share at the drum-head at night, 
when all's over. It's usually brought out 
between tho stage and the bottom seat of 
the gallcrj'. The master or missus counts 
out the money. The money on the dnmi- 
head may, if it's a good fair, come to 10/. 
or 18/., or, as it most usually is. 0/. or 10/. 
I have known us to sliare 1/. a-piece afore 
now ; and I've known what it is to take \0d. 
for a share. We usually take two fairs a- 
week, or we may stay a night or two after tlio 
fair's over, and have a bespeak night. The 
wages of a clown comes to — if you average 
it — 1/. a- week all the year round, and that's 
puffing it at a good salary, and supposing 
you to be continually travelling. Very likely, 
at night we have to pull do'wn the booth 
after performing all day, and be off that night 
to another fair — 15 or 16 miles off it may 
be — and have to build up again by the 
next afternoon. The women always ride on 
the top of the parade carriages, and the men 



occasionally riding and shoring op behind tlia 
carriages up hill. The only comfort in tn- 
veiling is a short pipe, and many a time Tie 
drowned my woes and troubles in one. 

** The scene of sharing at the drum-head is 
usually this, — wliile the last performance is 
going on the missus counts up the money ; and 
she is supposed to bring in all the money aha 
has token, but that we don't know, and we 
are generally fiddled most tremendous. When 
the theatre's empty, she, or him, generally 
says, * Now lads, please, now ladies ! it's get- 
ting late ;' and when they have all mustered 
it's generally the cry, * We've had a bad fair I' 
The i)eople seldom speak. She then takes 
the numlHjr of the company, — wo generaHy 
averages some sixteen performers,— and aftes 
doing so she commences sharing, taking im 
two or three shares, according to tlie grouna* 
rent ; one then to herself for taking money; then 
for the husband being there, (for they dont 
oflon perform) ; then they takes shares for the 
children, for they makes them go on for tlia 
fairies, and on our parade. Snuffy Johnaon 
used to take two shares for the wardrobes and 
fittings, and that is the most reasonable of 
any of 'em, for they mostly take double that; 
indeed, we always took six. Then there an 
two shares for groimd-rent, and two for travel- 
ling expenses. The latter two shares depend 
entirely upon the fair ; for the expenses an 
just the some whether we takes money or nol| 
so that if it's a bad fair, more has to be de- 
ducted, and that's the worse for us, on both 
sides. That makes twelve or thirteen shttes 
to be deducted before the men touch a penny 
for themselves. Any strolling profesaional 
who reads that will say, * Well, 'tis yery oflo- 
siderate; for it's imdcr tho mark, and not 
over.' 

" When we have finished at one fair, if vs 
want to go to another the next day, as soon 
as tho people have gone in for the last peiibr- 
mance we commence taking down the pay- 
box, and all tho show-fittings on the outside, 
and all that isn't wanted for the perfbrmanee. 
As soon as the mummers have done their fijst 
slang, if they are not wanted in the panto- 
mime they change themselves and go to worit 
pulling down. When the pantomime's over, 
every one helps till all's packed up; then 
sharing tikes place, and we tramp on oy night 
to the next fair. Wc then camp as well as we 
can till daylight, if it isn't morning already, 
and to work wc go building for the lair ; anil 
in general, by the time we've done building, 
it's time to open. 

" I've travelled witli ' Star's Theatre Royal,* 
and * Smith and Webster's,' (alias Bichard- 
son's), and * Frederick's Theatre,' and * Baker's 
ra\'iliou,' and * Douglass's travelling Shak- 
spearion Saloon;* (he's got scenes from 
Shokspeor's plays all round the front, and it's 
the most splendid concern on the road), and 
I've done ii^iQ comic business at all of them. 
They are all conducted on the same principle, 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



131 



and do the some kind of business, as that I've 
de?cril>ed to you. 

•* When we're travelling it depends upon 
the business as to what we eat. They talk of 
stTi tiling actors li>-ing so joUily and well, but 
I never knew it fall to my share. "NVhat we 
call a mummer's feed is potatoes and herrings, 
and thpy always look out for going into a town 
where there's plenty of fresh herrings. A fol- 
low we e:dled Nancy Dawson was the best 
hand at herrings. I've known him go into a 
tavern and o-sk for the bill of fore, and shout 
oQit * WlU, Landlord, what have you got for 
dinner? Perhaps he'd say, * There's beef and 
Tral, sir, very nice — just ready;' and then 
be'd say, ' No, I'm sick of meat; just get mo 
a nice bloater I ' and if it came to much more 
than a penny there was a row. If we are 
doing bad business, and we pass a field of 
5wedt:s, there's a general rush for tlie pull. Tlie 
beil judges of turaips is strolling professionuls. 
I recollect, in Hampshire, once getting into a 
swede Held, and they was all blighted: we 
pulled up a hundred, I should think, but when 
▼e cut them open tliey was nil flaxy inside, 
iDd we, after all, had to eat the rind. We 
couldn't 1,'et a fee^l. Sausages and fagots 
(that's made of all the stale sausages and 
Sivaloys, and unsightly bits of meat what 
wont scdl) is what we gi?ts hold of princi- 
pally. The women have to make sliifts as we 
dft. We always get plenty of beer, even when 
we can't get money ; fur we can sing a song or 
80, and then the yokels stand something: 
Iteiddef^ there's hardly a town we gf) into 
without some of the yokels being stage-struck,. 
and they feel quite delighted to be among tlie 
prc'fiessionals, and will give us plenty of beer 
if wv'll talk to them about acting. 

" It's impossible to say how many clowns 
there are working at canvas theatres. There's 
80 many meddling at it, — not good uns, but 
tzring to be. I can mention fifty, I am sm-e, 
by nam?, I shouldn't think you would exagge- 
rate, if you was to say there was from one 
hundred and fifty to two hundred who call 
th«iis^?lves clowns. Many of the first-rate 
cli»v.7is now in London have becnui at stroll- 
m-^. There's Herring, and Lewis, and Nel- 
MD. and plenty more, doing well now. 

" It's a hard life, and many 's the time we 
fqu-»edg*^ a laugh out, when it's like killing us to 
do iu I've never known a man break down 
at a fair, done up, for, you see, the beer 
keeps us up ; but I've kiumn one chnp to 
ftint on the parade from oxliausiion, and then 
gel up. as queer as could be. and draw twopence 
and go and have a fish and bread. A woman 
tt an oyster-stall alongside of the theatre 

give him a rlrop of beer. He was hearty and 
unjjT}-, and had only Joined lately, — regular 
hard up ; so he went two days witliout food. 
When we shared at night he went and 
bought a ham-bone, and actually eat himself 
•deep, for he dropped off with the bone in 
lushand." 



The Penny-Ciecus Jesteb. 

A MAN who had passed many years of his 
life ns jester at the cheap circuses, or penny 
equestrian shows frequenting the fairs in the 
neighbourhood of London, obliged me with the 
following details: — 

** There are only two kinds of clowns, the 
stage and the circus clown, only there is dif- 
ferent denominations: for instance, the clown 
at the fair and the clown at the regular theatre, 
as well as the j)enny gatf (when they give pan- 
tomimes there), are one and the same kind of 
clo^^-n, only better or worse, according to the 
pay and kind of performance ; but it's the same 
sort of business. Now the circus clown is of the 
same kind as those that go about with schools 
of acrobats and negro serenaders. He is ex- 
pected to be witty and say clever things, and 
invent anything he can for the evening's per- 
foniiauce ; but the theatre cloT^-n is expected 
to do nothing but what enters into the biL«»iness 
of the piece. Them two are the main distinc- 
tions we make in the perfession. 

" I've travelled nlong with only two circuses ; 
but then it's the time you stop with them, for 
I was eighteen months along Avith a man of the 
name of Johnson, who performed at the Albion, 
AVhitechapel, and in 5luseum-street, opjiositc 
Drury-lane (he had a penny exhibition then), 
and for above two years and a half along 
vTiih Veale, wlio had a circus at the Birdcage, 
Hackney-road, and at Walworth. 

*' At ^luseum-street we only had one * prad,' 
which is slang for pony, although we used to 
introduce all the circus business. We had 
jugglers, and globe-nmners, and tight-rope 
dancers also. We never ha<l no ring bmlt, 
but only sawdust on the stage, and all the wings 
taken out. They used to begin with a chant and 
a hop (singing and dancing), after which there 
was tight-rope hopping. As soon a<< ever the 
rope was drawn up, Johnson, who had a whip in 
his hand, the same as if it was a rejnihu* circus, 
used to sny, ' Now, Mr. Merrjinan.' Tlien I'd nm 
on and answer, 'Here I am, sir, aU of a lump, 
as the old man said what found the sixpence. 
I'm up and dressed, like a watchbox. WhatshaU 
I have the pleasure for to come for to go, for to 
go for to fetch, for to fetch for to carrj', to 
oldige you ? ' I usually wore a ring dress, with 
red rings round my tmnks, and a fly to cor- 
lespond. The tights had straight red lines. 
My wig was a white one with a red comb. Then 
Johnson would say, ' Have the pleasure to 
announce ^Madame Leone.' Then I give it: 
' Larlies and gentlemen, this is Madame Leone, 
a young lady that threw her clothes into bed 
and hung herself upon the door-nail.' Then sho 
just gets up on the rope, and I go and sit down 
as if I was going to sleep. Mr. Johnson then 
says, 'Come, sir,you're going to sleep ; you've got 
your eyes shut.' I answer, * I beg your pardon, 
sir, I was not asleep.' And then he says I was, 
and I contradict him, and add, * If I had my 



132 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



eyes shut, I am the first of the family that 
went to sleep so.' Then he asks how that is ? 
and I reply, * Because they were afraid of 
ha\ing their pockets picked;* and he says, 

* Nonsense! all your family was ver>' poor, 
tliere was nothing in their pockets to pick ; * 
and I add, * Yes, but there was the stitches 
though.' All these puns and catches goes 
immense. * Now, sir,' he continues, ' chalk the 
rope.' I say, * Whose place is it?* and he re- 
plies, * The fool's.' * Then do it yourself,' I 
answer. And then we go on in this style. He 
cries, * What did you say, sir?' * I said I'd do 
it mj-self.' * Now, Madame Leone, are you 
ready?' and she nods; and then I tell the 
music to toodelloo and blow us up. She then 
does a step or two — a little of the polka — and 
retires, and I am told to chalk the rope again, 
and this is our talk ; * Oh dear, oh dear ! tliere's 
no rest for the wicked. Sir, would you lie so 
kind, so obliging, as to infonn mo why I chalk 
the top of the rope ?' * To prevent the young 
lady from slipping down, sir.' ' Oh, indeed 1 
then I'll chalk undcmeatli the rope.' He then 
asks, *What are you doing of, sir?' 'Why 
didn't you tell me when I chalked the top it's 
to prevent the yoimglady from slipping down ? ' 

* Yes, sir.' * Then I chalked underneath, to 
prevent her ftova. slipping up again. Would 
you oblige mo with your hand?' Then I look 
at it and say, * Plenty of corns in it; you've 
done some hard work in your time.' ' I have, 
sir.' ' Beautiftd nails, too;' and then I rub 
the chalk on his hand, and when he asks what 
I'm doing of, I say ' Chalking it.' * "VMiat for, 
sir?' * Why, sir, to keep it from slipping into 
other people's pockets.' Then he gives me a 
click of whip and says, * Out of the way, sir! 
Now, Madame Leone, proceed.' 

**^Nlien she's finished tlie dance I cry, 
*Now I'll get on the rope and have a try,* 
and I mount very courageously, crying, 

' I'd bo a batcher'4 bov. 
Bom in the Borough, 
Beef-steaks to-day 
And mutton chopn to-morrow.' 

" Then I find the rope move, and pretend 
to be frightened, and cry, * Lord, don't ! 
it shakes.' Then I ask, * Mr. Johnson, will 
you chalk my pulse and hand me up tlie 
barber's-pole ? ' and when I've got it I say, 

* Here's a nice ornament on a twelfth-cake.' 
I also ask him, * I say, sir, did you ever know 
some of my friends was first-rate rope-dancers?' 

* No, sir.' * Oh yes, sir. they danced to some 
of the large houses.' * What house was that, 
sir ? was it Victoria ?' * I know nothing about 
Victoria, sir; you must ask Albert.' * Perhaps, 
sir, it was the Garrick.* * Oh, catch my 
brother dancing in a garret' * Perhaps, sir, 
it was Covent Garden.* * No, sir, he never 
danced in no garden, nor a lane neither.' 
' Perhaps, sir, it was the Haymarket' ' No. 
sir; nor the Corn-market.* * I see, sir, you 
can't remember the house.* *No, sir; I'll 



tell you, sir, it's a high stone building between 
Holbom and Newgate-market.' * Oh, you 
mean Newgate.' *Yes, sir; don't you re- 
member we were botli in there for pot steal- 
ing?' 'Come down here, sir, and I'll give 
you a flogging.' * You mean to say, sir, yoxOl 
give me a flogging if I come down ?' • Yes, 
sir.' * Then, sir, I shall remain where I am.' 
I then tell the music to toodelloo and blow 
us up, and I attempt to dance, and he lets the 
rope down, which throws me on to my back. 
He asks, * Are you hurt?' and I reply, • No, 
I'm killtid.' *Get up, sir.' 'I'll not move, 
sir.' * I'll give you Uie whip, sir.' * That's no 
use, sir ; I've made a bargain with it, that if 
I don't touch it it won't touch me. Oh, 
ain't I bad I I've got the cobbler's marbles, or 
else the hen-flew-out-f»f-the- window.' * Here's 
a policeman coming!' and then I jumps up 
in a minute, and ask, * Where ?' 

"Then I go to his whip, and touch it 
' Whafs this, Mr. Johnson ? ' * My whip, sir.' 

* 111 tell you what it is, Mr. Johnson, 111 bet 
you a bottle of blacking and a three-out brush, 
that you can't say * my whip ' to three questions 
that I shall put to you.' * I'll tike you, sir.' 
I then take the whip from him, and sty, 

* Pronding, sir, you was to meet a i)oor blind 
old man, and you was to give him a ha'penny, 
and you was to meet me and make me a 
present of a ft/, note, what would you deserve ?' 
He says, * My whip, sir.' * Yes, sir; that's one 
to you. I say, sir, you've got a daughter, and 
if she was to marry and get a great deal of 
money, what would you deserve ?' * My wh^, 
sir.' *• Certainly, sir; that's two to yoo. Kov, 
sir, providing you was a top of that rope, md 
I was to undo the rope and let yon down, mnI 
I was to give you tlio cobbler's marbles with 
the lien-flew-out-of-the-window, and tell you 
that a policeman was a-coming, what should 
I deserve ?' Then ho don't like to say, • My 
whip,' and stammers out; at last he says it, 
and then I beat him round the stage Ull he 
nms off". Then I lay it down and cry cock-a- 
doodle-do, crowing for victory, and he creeps 
in and gets the whip again, and then lashes 
me. 

" After juggling and globes, we alwa^'S did 

* a laughable sketch entitled Billy Button's 
ride to Brentford,' and I used to be Jeremiah 
Stitchem, a servont of Billy Button's, that 
comes for a * sitiation.* It opens this way. 
Jeremiali makes applications for this situa- 
tion. He asks, * What can you do ? ' • E veiy- 
think and nothink.' ' Can you clean plates?' 

* I can break 'era.' * Can you run errands ?' 
' All ways.' He is engaged at 4«. a- week and 
his board ; and then comes some comic busi- 
ness about a letter coming by post. Billy 
tells him to bring him a light to read this 
letter, and he sets fire to it. This letter is 
from Brentford, saying that his sister's ill and 
that he's wanted directl}'. He goes to a liveiy 
stable and asks for a lady's pony, at the sama 
time saying he wants it quiet The mtn 



LOKDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



J33 



la.Ts lie*8 got thxee : one that is blind, and 
threw the last gentleman that rode it into a 
ditch, and BiUy won't have that. The other 
is lame of one leg, and. he don't Hke that, fur 
he wants a lady's pony that is very quiet. 
Then this stable-keeper recommends this 
pony, saying it's vezy quiet, but it's a kicker. 
Then fint he gets ap the wrong way, and the 
Lead comes round to the t<iil of the horse ; 
Jerxy ihen tells him he's wrong, and then offers 
X/j give him a * bimg up,' and chucks him right 
over the pony's back on to the grotmd on the 
other side. Ue then gets on properly, ready 
for starting, and tells Jerry he may expect 
him home in a day or two. He tries to Ktai't 
the pony, but it won't go. Jerry takes a 
Dccdlti and pretends to stick it into tlie puny's 
lUnk, which causes it to kick and rear until 
he throws Billy Button oif ; and then the pony 
chases Jerry round the stage with his mouth 
open to bite him. Then there's a regular 
confusion, and that winds it up. 

•' If that pony catched you he'd give it you, 
too. He caught hold of me one niglit by my 
tT'^users, and nearly shook my life out of me. 
It hurt me, but ever}'body roared and thought 
it all right. Alter that I hit upon a dodge. 
I used to have a roll of caUco tacked on to 
mv back, and the pony would catch hold 
ot it and pull out about four yards of what 
IcH-ked hke a bhirt. Those ponies are very 
playful, and may be taught anything. 

" The stage-clown's dress is what" we term 
ftill dresses, with a wig and a tail, but the 
circus clown's is merely the top. knot, and 
the ring dress, as if they are spangled they 
are always on the twist, something in the 
Myle of tlie serpent. They don't do tlie red 
hulf-moon on the cheek, like stage clowns, 
but tliey have just a dab, nmniug up to the 
cheek-bone. A stage-clown's dress costs irom 
frum bL to 10/. ; but a circus clown can make 
i suit complete, with pumps and all, for from 
3Us. to d3«. There's such a thing as fourteen 
or fifteen yards of canvas in a stage-clown's 
full dress ; and tliot's without exaggerating. 

" Veal's was the best circus I wus at ; tlicre 
tbevhadsix prads (horses) and two ponies, 
and the performers were the best then of the 
day; for they had Monsieur Ludowic, aFrench- 
mun« and the best bare-bock juggler about. 
Mr. Moffat's troupe, and JMr. Enier>''8, was 
there also. Mr. Douglas wus clown along 
^iiii me, and little Nod and Sam was the 
tumblers. We hud a large tent and regular 
ciruas, and could accommodate 1500 or IGOO 
people. I had 35s. a-weok uU the time I was 
there, (near 2\ years), and it wasn't much, 
considering the work, for I had to produce 
ftil the pantomimes and act as ballet-muster 
*^ well. 

" It is, and it ain't, difficult to ride roimd 
s drous standing up. I've known one man, 
vbo had never rode before in all his life, 
and yet went on one night, when they were 
short of hands, and done the Olympians to 



the best of his abilities, without falling ofl^ 
though he felt very nervous. For these scenes 
they go slowly. You have to keep your eye 
fixed on the horse's head. I've been in a 
circus so long, and yet I can't ride. Even 
following the horse round the ring makes me 
feel so giddy at times, that I have had to catch 
hold of the tent-pole in the middle just to 
steady myself. 

*' I wasn't the regular principal clown at 
Veal's — only on occasions ; I was the speak- 
ing clown and jester. I used to do such things 
as those : — Fc»r instance, there is a act — ^which 
is rode — culled * Tlie Shipwrecked Sailors,' 
where he rides roimd the ring, introducing the 
shipwreck hornpipe, and doing a pantomime 
of gi\'ing a imitation of the sinking of the 
ship, and his swimming and returning safe on 
shore. Between the parts I used to say to 
the ring-master, • Are you aware, sir, that 
I've been to sea ? ' He'd say, * No. sir.' Tlien 
we'd go on : * Yes, sir ; I once took a voyage 
to the Ickney Nockney Islands, off Bulbusen, 
just by the Thames' Tunnel, in the mud.' 
' Indeed, sir I' * Yes, sir ; and I've seen some 
wonderful sights, sir, in my time.' * Indeed, 
sir ! ' * Yes, sir : on this occasion it come so 
cold, that as the captain was on the quarter- 
deck, as he gave the word of command to the 
men, the words dropped out of his mouth 
lumps of ice on the deck. The ship would 
have been lost, had I not had the presence of 
mind to pick the words up, put them into 
a fr>ingpan, and warm them over the galley- 
lire : and us they thawed, so I gave the woixl 
of command to the men.' *l)ear me, sir! 
that was a wonderful sight!' 'It wus in- 
deed, sir I ' * I don't believe a word of it.' 

* Ah, sir, if you'd have been there, you'd have 
seen it yourself.' * I don't beUeve a word 
of it, Mr. Merryman.* * Oh ! come, sir, you 
must beheve some.' * Well, I believe a part 
it/ * Then I believe the other part, sir, and 
so that makes tlie lot.' ' That's right, sir.* 
' Well, su:, I went for another voyage ; and 
going through the Needles our vessel sprung 
a leak ; not an onion, a leak ; and she got a 
hole in her side.' * She, sir ? * * Yes, sir, 
the ship ; so the pumps was put to work ; 
but as fust as they pumped the water out 
it came in at the hole, and Uie ship was sink- 
ing, when the captain come on deck and 
asked if there was any man courageous enough 
to stop the hole. Of course, sir, I was there.' 

* But you're not courageous.' * Ain't I, sii*? 
try me.' * Now, says lie, * if there's any man 
\i-ill stop this hole, to him will I give the hand 
of my daughter and 150/. So away I went 
down in the hold, and there was more tliau 
about 15 foot of water, and I p«)p8 my head i}\ 
the hole until they got tlie ves.s«.4 ashoi-e. So 
you see, sir, I had the hand of his daughter 
and the 150/.' * That was a good job for you, 
Mr. Menyman.' • No, sir ; it was a bad job.' 

* How was that, sir?' 'Because when I 
was married I found that she was a cream 



134 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



of Urtar.' ' Then, sir, you had the money ; 
that was a good job for yoii.' * No, sir ; 
that was a bad job, sir.' * How so ? ' 'I 
bought some sheep and oxen, and they died 
of the rot' ' Ah ! that was a bad job, Mr. 
Meriyman.' ' Ko, sir ; it was a good*job ; for 
shoes were veiy dear, and I sold the hides 
for more than I gave for the cattle.' « Well, 
that was a good job.' ' No, sir, that was a 
bad job : for I built houses with the money 
and they got burned down.' * Indeed, sir ! 
that was a very bad job for you.' * Oh no, 
sir ; it was a very good job, because my wife 
got burnt in them, and, you see, I got rid of 
a tormenting wife.' 

** Tlicre's another famous gag ring-jesters 
alwa>-s do, and I was very successful with it. 
After the act of horsemanship is over, when 
the ring-master is about lea%ing the ring, I 
say, * Allow me to go first, sir ; ' and he re- 
plies, • No, sir, I never follow a fool.' Then 
we go on : — * I always do,' meaning him. 
* Wliat did you say, sir ? ' * That's quite 
true, sir.* * I say, sir, did ever you see my 
sweetheart?' * No, sir.' 'There she is, sir; 
that nice young girl sitting there.' ' I don't 
see her.' — *Yes, there, sir, a- winking at me 
now. Ah ! you little duckscy, ducksey, duck- 
eey ! * 'I don't see her, sir.' Then I gets him 
to the middle of the ring, and whilst he is 
pretending to stare in the direction I pointed 
to, I bolt off, saying, * I never follows a fool.' 

" At fairs we do pretty well, and a circus 
always pays better than an acting-booth. 
We are idwa}'s on salaries, and never go upon 
shares. The actors often say we look down 
upon them, and think them beneath our 
notice; and I dare say it's true, to a great 
extent. I've heard our chaps cxy out, * Won't 
you bo glad when herrings are cheap?' or, 
' How were you off for bits of candle and 
lumps of coke last night at sharing?' Then, 
no doubt, we live better at circuses, for we 
do our steaks and onions, and all that sort 
of thing ; and, i>erhaps, that makes us 
cheeky.* 

" Some jesters at circuses get tremendous 
engagements. Mr. Barry, they say, had 10/. 
a-week at Astlcy's; and Stonalfe, with his 
dogs, is, I should think, equal to him. There's 
another. Nelson, too, who plays on the bar- 
monicon, and does tunes on bits of wood — 
the same as went on the water in a tub drawn 
by geese, when the bridge broke down at 
Yarmouth — ^he's had as much as 15/. a-week 
on a regular travelling engagement 

" There ain't so many jesters as timibling 
clowns. I think it's because they find it 
almost too much for them ; for a jester has 
to be ready with his tongue if anything goes 
wrong in the ring. I shouldn't think there 
was more than from thirty to forty jesters 
in England. I reckon in this way. There 
are finom ten to fifteen circuses, and that's 
allowing them two jesters each. In the three- 
penny circus, such as Clarke's or Fhizier's, 



the salary for a jester is about 2/. »>week, take 
the year round." 

Silly Billt. 

The character of "Silly Billy" is a kind 
of clown, or rather a clown's butt; biit not 
after the style of Pantaloon, for the port 
is comparatively juvenile. Silly Billy is sup- 
posed to be a schoolboy, although not dress* d 
in a charity-boy's attire. He is verj' pq>u- 
lar with the audience at the fairs; indeed, 
they cannot do wthout him. ** The people 
like to see Silly Billy," I was told, "much 
more than they do Pantaloon, for he gets 
knocked about more though, but he gives 
it back again. A good Silly,*' said my in- 
formant, **■ has to imitate all the ways of a 
little boy. When I have been going to a fair, 
I have many a time stopped for hours watch- 
ing boys at play, learning their various games, 
and getting their sayings. For instance, some 
will go about the streets singing : 

* Eh. hiffgcty, «h ho I 
Billy lut the water Ko ! ' 

which is some song about a boy pulling a tap 
fVom a water-butt, and letting the water ruu. 
There's anotlier : 

' Kicky nickey nito. 
rUstrikeallght!' 

I got these both from watching children whilst 
pla}'ing. Again, boys will swear * By the liver 
and lights of a cobbler's lapstone ! ' and their 
most regular desperate oatli is, 

• Ain't thin wot? ain't it dry ? 
Cat my throat if I tells a he.' 

They'll say, too * S'elp my greens ! * and * Upon 
my word and say so ! ' AM these savings I 
used to work up into my Silly Billy, and they 
had their success. 

** I do such things as these, too, which is 
regularly boyish, such as * Give me a bit of 
your bread and butter, and I'll give you a bit 
of my bread and treacle.' Agaiu, I was 
watching a lot of boys plnying at pitch-buttou, 
and one says, * Ah, you're up to the rigs of 
this hole ; come to my hole — ^you can't play 
there!' I've noticed them, too, playing at 
ring- taw, and one of their exclamations is 
* Knuckle doiivn fodr, and no funking.' All 
these sayings are very useflil to make the 
character of Silly Billy perfect Bless you, 
sir, I was two years studying boys before I 
came out as Silly Billy. But then'l persevere 
when I take a thing in hand ; and I stick so 
close to nature, that I can't go far wrong in 
that line. Now this is a regular boy's answer : 
when somebody says ' Does your mother know 
you're out?' he replies, ' Yes, she do; but I 
didn't know the organ-man had lost his 
monkey ! ' That always went immense. 

'* It's impossible to say when Silly Billy first 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR, 



135 



come out at furs, or who first supported the 
character. It's been popular ever since a fair 
nn l>e remembered. The best I ever saw was 
Teddy Waiters. He's been at all the fairs 
roond the universe — England, Ireland, Scot- 
Undf Wales, and France. Ho belonged to a 
circas when he went abroad. He's done Silly 
Billy these forty year, and he's a great comic 
singer beside. I was reckoned very clever at 
iL I used to look it by making up so young 
for it. It tires you very much, for there's so 
maeh exertion attached to it by the dancing 
and cax)ering about. I've done it at t)ie fairs, 
and also with tumblers in the street; only, 
when you do it in the street, you don't do one- 
half the business. 

'^The make-up for a Silly Billy is this: 
Short white trousers and shoes, with a strap 
round the ankle, long white pinafore with a 
frill round the neck, and red sleeves, and a 
bojs cap. We dress the head with tlio hair 
behind the ears, and a dab of red on the nose 
and two patches of black over the eyebrows. 
>Vhen I went to the fair I always took three 
pairs of wliite trousers ^-ith me. The girls 
usal to get up pla}'ing larks with me, and 
smearing my white trousers with gingerbread. 
It 3 a very favourite character with the women 
—they stick pins into you, as if you were a 
pin-cushion. I've had my thighs bleeding 
sometimes. One time, during Greenwich, a 
n;;ly old woman came on the parade and 
lossed me, and made me a present of a silver 
tiipence, which, I needn't say, was soon spent 
in porter. Why, I've brought home with me 
sometimes toys enough to last a child a fort- 
night, if it was to break one every day, such as 
carts and horses, cock and breeches, whistles, 
M. You see. Silly Billy is supposed to be a 
thiexish sort of a character, and I used to 
take the toys away from the girls as they were 
goin^ into the theatre, and then I'd show it to 
the Clown and say, * Oh, look what that nice 
lady's give me ! I shall take it home to my 
mother.' 

" I've done Silly Billy for Richardson's, and 
near every booth of consequence. The general 
»ages is from 5«. to 7«. 6rf. the day, but my 
terms was always the three half-crowns. When 
there's any fairs on, I can always get a job. I 
always made it a rule never to go far away 
from London, only to Greenwich or Gravesend, 
hut not farther, for I can make it better in 
town working the concert-rooms. There are 
«ome who do nothing but Silly Billy ; and 
then, if you take the year round, it comes to 
three days' work a-week. The regular salary 
doesn't come to more than a pound a-week, 
^ut then you make something out of those 
▼ho come' up on the parade, for one will 
chuck you G<^., some \s, and 2«. 6</. We call 
those parties *prosses.' I have had such a 
^g as 55. give to me. We ore supposed to 
share this among the company, and we gene- 
rally do. These are the * nobbings,' and may 
Bend tip your earnings to as much as 25«. a- 



week, besides drink, which you can have more 
given to you than you want, 

" When we go about the streets with tum- 
blers, we mostly only sing a song, and 
dance, and keep the ring whilst the perform- 
ance is going on. We also * nob,' or gather the 
money. I never heard of a Silly Billy going 
out busking in tap-rooms and that. The 
tumblers like the Silly Billy, because the dress 
is attractive ; but they are getting out of date 
now, since the grotesque clown is so much in 
the street. I went about vfith a school termed 
* The Demons,' and very clever they was, 
though they've all broke up now, and I don't 
know what's become of them. There were 
four of them. We did middling, but we could 
always manage to knock up such a thing as 
20s. each a-week. I was, on and off, about six 
months with them. After their tumbling, then 
my turn would begin. The drummer would 
say : * Ttmi and turn about's fair play. Billy, 
now it's your turn. A song from Billy ; and 
if we meet ydth any encouragement, ladies 
and gentlemen, the young man here will tie 
his legs together and chuck several summer- 
sets.' Then I'd sing such a song as * Clemen- 
tina Clements,' which begins like this : 

' You taUc of modest girls. 
Now I've seen a few. 
But there's noao licks the oue 

I'm sticking up to. 
But some of her fiiults 

Would make some chaps ill ; 
But, with all her faults, 
Yes, I l«n'e her stUl. 
Such a delicate duck was Clementina Clements ; 
Such a delicate duck I never did see.* 

** There's one verse where she won't walk 
over a potato-field because they've got eyes, 
and another when she faints at seeing a Dutch 
doll without clothes on. Then she doesn't 
like tables' legs, and all such as that, and that's 
why she is * such a delicate duck.' That song 
always tells with the women. Then I used to 
sing another, called * What do men and wonien 
marry for ? ' which was a very great favourite. 
One verse that went very well was : 

* If a good wife you've got, 

(But there's very few of those.) 
Your money goes just like a shot : 

They're everlasting wanting clothes. 
And when you've bought 'em all you can. 

Of course you cannot buy them more ; 
They cry. Do you call yourself a man ? 

Was this what we got married for ? ' 

•'When I danced, it was merely a comio 
dance — what we call a * roley poley.' Some- 
times, when we had been walking far, and 
pitching a good many times, the stones would 
hurt my feet awful with dancing. 

"Pitching with tumblers is nothing com- 
pared to fair-parading. There you are the 
principal of the comic men after Clown, for 
he's first. We have regular scenes, which 
take twenty minutes working through. When 
the parade is slack, then comes the Silly Billy 
business. There's a very celebrated sketch, or 



180 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON FOOB. 



•whatover you call it, which Gown and Silly 
Billy do together, taking oiT mesmerism. 

"Clown comes on, dressed up in a tall white 
hat, and with a cloak on. He says that he has 
just arrived from the island of Mititti, and 
that he's the great Doctor Bokanld, the most 
celehrated mesmeriser in the worid. He says, 
*Look at me. Here I am. Aint I mes- 
merised elephants ? Ain't I mesmerised mon- 
keys ? and ain't I going to mesmerise him ? * 
He then tells Silly Billy to sit in the chair. 
Then he commences passing his hands across 
his eyes. He asks Billy, * What do you see, 
Billy ? ' He turns his face, with his sliut eyes, 
towards the crowd, and says, * A man with a 
hig nose, sir, and such a many pimples on his 
face.' *And now what do you see, Billy?' 
' Oh, ain't tliat gal a- winking at me ! Ton he 
quiet, or I'll tell my mother.' * Now what do 
you see, Billy ? ' * Nothink.* Then the doctor 
turns to the crowd, and says, * Now, ladies and 
gentlemen. I shall touch him on the fakement 
at the hack of his head which is called a bump. 
Oh, my eyes! ain't Billy's head a-swelling! 
This bimip, ladies and gentlemen, is called a 
organ — not a church nor yet a chapel organ, 
nor yet one of tliem they grind in the street. 
And here's another organ,' ho says, putting 
his hand on Billy's stomach. * This here is 
called liis nvitUing department organ, or where 
he puts liis grub. I shall now touch liim on 
another fakement, and make him sing.' Then 
he puts liis finger on Bill^^'s head, and Billy 
sings: 

• As I one day won hawkinfr my ware, 
I thouifht I'd invent something novel and rare : 
For as I'm not fn^wn. And I know what's o'clock. 
So 111 hove a go in at tlio pinenipplo rock. 
Tol do ro lay, tol de ro lay.' 

" Tlien Billy becomes quiet again, and Uie 
doctor says, * 111 now, ladies and gentlemen, 
touch him on another fakement, and cause 
Bill>' to crj'. This liore is his organ of the 
liondling department.' Then he takes Bflly's 
tingiT fliid bites it, and Billy begins to ronr 
liko a town bull. Then the doctor says, * I'll 
now, ladies and gentlemen, touch him on ano- 
ther fakement, when^by the youth can tell mo 
what I've got in my hand.' He then puts his 
hand in his coat-tail pocket, and says, * Billy, 
what have I got in my hand ? ' and Billy says, 
• Ah, you nasty beast I why it's a— it's a— it's a 
— oh, I don't like to say ! * They do this a lot 
of times, Billy always replying, * Oh, I don't 
like to say I ' until at last he promises that, if 
he won't tell his mother, he will ; and then he 
says, * It's a small-tooth comb.' * Very right, 
BiUy ; and what's in it? * * Why, one of them 
•ere Uiings that crawls.' * Very right, Billy ; 
and what is it?' ''Why, it's a — ^it's a black- 
beetle.' * Very right, Billy ; look again. Do 
3-ou see anything else? ' * There's some crumbs.' 
Then lie tells Billy, that as he is such a good 
boy he'll bring him to ; and Billy says, ' Oh, 
don't, please, sir; one's quite enough.' Then 
he brings him to, and Billy says, * Oh, ain't it 



nice I Oh, it's so goDy ! Here, you young 
woman, I wish you'd let me touch your 
bumps.' Then, if the people laugh, he adds, 
' You may laugh, hut it gives you a all-over 
sort of a feeling, aa if yoa had drunk three 
pints of pickling Tinegar/ 

" That's a very nyourite Mene ; but I 
haven't give it yon all, for it would fill a 
volume. It always makes a hit; and BiUy 
has a rare chanee of working comio attitudet 
and so on when the doctor touches his bomp^ 

^ There's another vexy celehrated scene iiar 
Silly Billy. It's what we call the preachina 
scene. Silly Billy mounts up a ladder, ani 
Clown holds it at the bottom, and looks 
through the steps. Clown has to do the derk 
to Billy's parson. Billy begins by telling the 
clerk that he mnst say ' Barley sugar' at the 
end of every sentence he preaches. Billy be- 
gins in this way : — '' Keyind brethren, and yoa 
fair damsels,' and he's supposed to be address* 
ing the chaps and gals on the parade, * I hope 
that the text I shall give yon will be a monl 
to you, and prevent you from eating the foii- 
bidden sweets of — ' * Barley sugar I' *No^ 
you fool — sin! and that wiU put you in the 
right path as you walk through the fields 
of — ' 'Barley sugar!' *No; virtue, you 
fool ! My text is taken from the epistle of 
Thomas to the Etliiopians, the first chapter, 
and two first slices off a leg of mutton, where 
it saj-R so beautifully — ' ' Barley sugar ! ' * No^ 
no ; that's not it ! Now it come to go along in 
the first year in the first month, two days he- 
fore that, as we was journeying tlirough the 
land of—' « Barley sugar ! ' • No, no, you 
fool ! keep quiet Flowerpotamia, we met a 
serpent, and from his mouth was issuing—' 

* Barley sugar ! ' * No, no ! fire.' Then all 
the people on the parade jump np and shoot, 

* Where ? ' Then Billy says, • Oh, my sistef^s 
tom-cat, here's a congregation! Sit down.' 
^Vhen they are all quiet again, Billy goes on : 

* Now this I say unto you — * * Barley sugar !* 

* Keep quiet, "n-ill you ! ' and he hit« Clown with 
his foot. * Two shall l>e well and two shall be 
queer. Oh, ain't I ill I Go, men of little un. 
dcrstanding, and inherit a basin of pea-soup at 
the cook-shop, together frith—' 'Barley 
sugar!' *No such thing! — my blessing. 
Unto you will I give nothing, and unto you 
just h alf as much — ' * Barley sugar I ' * Hold 
your tongue! You that have had nothing 
shall give it back again, and you that had 
notliing at all, you shall keep it Now let 
us sing — ' * Barley sugar ! ' * No ; a song.' 
Then Billy tells them to get their books, and 
they take up pint pots, or whatever they can 
get < Let us sing, 'and they fdl jump up, and 
they all begin: 

' If I was a dmyman'a bono 
One quarter of the year, 
I'd put my tail where my head ought to be, 
And I'd drink np all the—' 

'Bariey sugar!' — ' Hold your tongue!— beer.' 



ZOXDOX LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



I.i7 



After ftll of them hare sang, Billj saj-s. • Now 
Id vs SET/ and all of them howl, < Aye, aje.' 

* Vow is fha wintflr of onr duDontent— 
We have not CDOugrb mooey to pAjr our rait ; 
ind by mil tbe clouda that tip our hooMv 
VeVo uoC euoc^h lood tolDod a ' 

•Biriey sagorl' 'Yes, barley sugar/ says 
My. Then aU tlie congregation cries — ''O 
— 0— o — o;* and Clown sa,\'8, *Bar — bar — 
bn^-liariey sogar/ and he is so much atfected 
be weeps and goes to wipe his eyes, and lets the 
liUer fall, and down comes Billy. He gives 
imdiy kicks, and then pretends to be dying. 
nie congregation say, 'Peace be with you, 
BQ^T/ and he answers, * Yes, pcas-pudiling 
ud fined taters ;* and the Clown howls out, 
'Baiiey sugar 2* When Billy is dead, if busi- 
aess isn't very good, they put the body on 
the ladder, and form a procession. The music 
goes at the head and plays a hornpipe, slowly, 
lad then they leave the booth, and parade 
Ifanm^h the fair among the people, with Clown 
M ebef mourner. The people are bursting 
tkdr sides, and wherever we go they follow 
■ftff. All the mourners keep cning, * Oh, oh, 
oh,BiU>-'e deadr and then Billy turns round, 
■od sometime*) says, * Don't bo fools ! it's only 
lUik:* or else, * Don't tell mother; she'll 
give me a hiding.' This i)rocession business 
ttvs^TS brings a dork behind us, and tills the 
theatre, or gues a great way towards it. AMien 
1 have been Silly Billy, and representing this 
leene, and been carried through the fair, I've 
been black and blue from the girls coming up 
and pinching me through the ladder. The 
gicis are wonderfully cheeky at fairs, and all 
iat a laik. They used to get me so precious 
vid, I couldn't help coming to life, and say, 
'(l^et* you hussies ! ' But it were no good, for 
tliqf'd follow you iJl about, and keep on uip- 
|Ng a fellow. 

"Another celebrated scene or sketch is the 
tflSloUl one, and a rich one it is. Billy is 
nqiposed to have joined the temperance par- 
lies He calls fur a tub to preach upon, and 
he lays he will consider it a favour if they 
6oaldlet.it he a water-butL They lift Billy 
«n to the tub, and a cove — Clown generally — 
BIS under to take the choir of the meeting. 
: Then the poraders stand about, and I begin : 

* Ladies and gentlemen, waking fricn<ls, and 
lazy eoeniiea, and Mr. Chairman, what I'm 
about to tell you I'm a stanch teetotider.' 

* Hear, hear, hear,' everybody cries. * I have 
been so for now two — ' and the Clown sug- 
gests • Years.' * No, minutes. I'd have you 

> avoid water as you would avoid u bull that 
WMn't iu a choney-shop.' * Hear, hear, hear.' 

* I once kuew a friend of mine who dnmk water 
I till be was one solid mass of ice ; aod he drunk 

t<^ii till the leaves grew out of his nose.' * Oh, 

I oh, hear, hear.' ' He got so fut, you couldn't 

I ^ him. This, my friends, comes of tcu- 

dzuking I ' * Hear, hear, hear.' * I hope, kind 

incDds, this will be a lesson to you to ayoid 



drinking too much' — Tlien the chairman 
jumps up and says, * Beer I ' * No, no ; tea. 
Drink in moderation, and never drink more 
than I do. Two pots of ale, three pints of 
porter, four glasses of gin, five of mm, and six 
of brandy, is enough for any man at one time. 
Don't drink more, please.' * Hear, hear, hear.* 
* That will cause you to be in the heiglit of 
bloom. Your nose will bhissom; your eyes 
will be bright as two burnt holes in a blanket ; 
your head ^^-ill swell till no hat will fit it. 
These are facts, my friends : undeniable facts, 
my kind friends.' * Ii«Mir, hear, hear.' * You 
will get so fat, youll tske np the puvemont to 
walk. I believe, and I trust, that what I have 
said \**ill not conxince you that teetotolism 
and cuifeetotalism are the best things ever 
invented. Sign the pledge. The pledge-book 
is here. You must all jwiy a pemiy; and if 
you dont keep up your pu\-ments, you will be 
scratched. With these few remarks I now 
conclutle my address to you, hoping that every 
friend imioug you is so benevolent as to sub- 
scribe a pot (if beer. I shall be hajipy to drink 
it, to show you how awful a thing it is not to 
become a teetotaller.' Then they all rush 
f«^n^•a^d to sign the plodife, and they knock 
Clown over, and lie tumbU^s Silly Billy into 
the barrel up to his neck. Then we all sing 

* I Hk«s a dn»p of (foo.l l)oer, 
I likca a dn-p of p.KHi bwir ; 
And hau^ thoir cyca If over th*>y tries 
To rub a pour man of hia btior.' 

And that ends the meeting. 

" I was in Greenwich fair, doing Silly Billy, 
when the c<4ebrated disturbimce with the 
Holdiers to<^»k place. I was at Smith and Web- 
ster's booth (Uichnrdsdn's that was), and OUT 
clown was l*aul Petro. He hail been a bit of 
a fighting man. lie was binding down fi>r 
Silly Billy to toko a jump over him, and soma 
of- the soldiers ran up ami took the back. 
They knocked his bock as they went over, and 
he got shirtey. Then canio a row. Foiu: of 
them pitched into Paul, and he cries out for 
help. The mob be;,'an to pelt the soldiers, and 
they called out to their comrades to assist 
them. A regular confusion ensued. The 
soldiers timibled us about, and took off their 
belts. They cut Paul's forehead right open. 
I was Silly Billy, ond I got a broomstick, and 
when one of the 8oldi<?rs prave mc a lick over the 
face with his belt, I pitclied him over on the 
mob with my broomstick. I was tumbled 
down the steps among the mob, and hang mo 
if they didn't pitch into mo tool I got tho 
awfullest nose you ever see. U'here was I, in 
my long pinafore, a- wiping up the blood, and 
both my eyes going as black as plums. I cut 
up a side place, and then I sat down to tiy 
and put my nose to rights. L<^rd, how I did 
look about for plaster ! "NVlien I came back 
there was all the fair a fighting. The fighting- 
men came out of their bootlis and let into tlio 
soldiers, who was going about flourishing their 



138 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



belts and hittiDg eveiybody. At last the 
police came ; two of them ivas knocked down, 
und sent back on stretchers : but at last, when 
u picket was sent for, all the soldiers — there 
was about forty of them — were walked oflf. 
They got from six to nine months' impri^^on- 
mont; and those that let into tho police, 
eighteen iiiontlis. I never sec such a sight. 
It was all up with poor Silly Hilly for that fair, 
for I had to wrap my face up in plaster and 
ilannel, and keep it ko for a week. 

" I shouldn't think there were more than a 
dozen Silly Billys going about at tlie present 
time ; jmd out of them there ain't above throe 
lirst-raters. 1 know neiurly all of thein. When 
fairs ain't on they go about the streets, either 
with schools of tumblers or serenaders; or 
else tlicy turn to singing at the concerts. To 
be a good Silly Billy, it requires a man vi\\\\ 
heaps of funniment and plouty of talk. He 
must also huvo a young-looking face, and tlie 
taller tin.' man the better for it. When I go 
out I always do my own gug, and I try to 
knock out something new. I can take a candle, 
or a straw, or a piece of gingerbread, or any 
mortal thing, and lecture on it. At fairs we 
make our talk rather broad, to suit the au- 
dience. 

"Our best sport is where a giil comes up 
on tlie parade, and stands there before going 
inside — we havo immense fun witli her. I 
oiler to marry her, and so does Clown, and we 
quarrel as to who proposed to the young 
woman first. I swear she's my gal, and he 
does the same. Then we appeal to her, and 
tell her what we'll give her as presents. It 
makes immense fun. The girls always take 
it in good p.'trt, and seem to e^joy it as much 
as the mob in front. If we see that she is in 
any ways shy we drop it, for it's done for mer- 
riment, and not to insult ; and we always strive 
to amuse and not to abuse our friends." 

Billy Baillow. 

** Billy Barlow," is another supposed comic 
character, that usually accompanies either tho 
street-dancers or acrobats in their peregrina- 
tions. The dress consists of a cocked-hat and 
red feather, a soldier's coat (generally a ser- 
geant's with sash), whit^ trowsers with the legs 
tucked into Wellington boots, a large tin eye- 
glass, and an old broken and ragged umbrella. 
The nose and cheeks are coloured bright red 
with vermilion. The " comic business" con- 
sists of the songs of the ^* Merry Month of 
May," and "Billy Barlow," together with a 
few old conundrums and jokes, and sometimes 
(where the halfpence are very plentiful) a 
" comic " dance. The following statement con- 
cerning this peculiar means of obtaining a 
living I had from a man whom I had seen 
performing in the streets, dressed up for the 
part, but who came to me so thoroughly altered 
in appearance that 1 could hardly recognise 
him. In plain clothes he had almost a re- 



spectable appearance, and was remarkably 
clean and neat in his attire. Altogether, in 
his undress, he might have been mistaken for 
a better Idnd of mechanic. There was a 
humorous expression, however, about his 
month, and a tendency to grimace, that toM 
the professional buffoon. **! go about now 
as Billy Barlow,** he said ; " the character of 
Billy Barlow was originally played at the noes 
by a man who is dead. He was about ten 
years at the street business, doing nothing else 
than Billy Barlow in the public thoroughfares, 
and at fairs and races. He might have mads 
a fortuue had he took care on it, sir; but hs 
was a great drunkmrd, and spent all he got in 
gin. He died seven years ago — ^where most 
of the street-performers ends their daj-s — in 
the workhouse. He was formerly a potmin 
at some public-house, and got discharged, and 
then took to singing comic songs about the 
streets and fairs. Tho song of * Billy Barlow' 
(which was very popular then) was among 
the lot that he sung, and that gave his name. 
He used to sing, too, the song of * I hope I 
don't intrude ; ' and for that he dressed up as 
Paul Pit, which is the reason of the old nzn- 
brella, the eye-glass, and the white trowsets 
tucked into the boots, being part of the cos- 
tume at present Another of his songs was 
tlie * Merry Month of May,* or * Follow the 
Drum ; ' and for that he put on the soldier^ 
coat and cocked-hat and feather, which we 
wears to this day. After this he was called 
* General Barlow.' "When he died, one or two 
took to the same kerachtcr, and they died in 
the workhouse, like us aU. Two months ago 
I thought I'd take to it myself, as there was a 
vacancy in the purfession. I have been for 
thirty years at the street business, off and on. 
I am fifty now. I was a mufiin and bisenit- 
baker by trade ; but, like the rest on us, I got 
fond of a roving life. My father was a taflar 
by traile, but took to being a supemumeniy 
at Covent Garden Theaytor, where my uncle 
was a performer, and when I was nine jean 
old I playcnl tlie part of the child in *■ Hzairoi' 
and after that I was one of the devils whil 
danced romid my uncle in * Mother Gooee.^ 
When I was fourteen year old my uncle ap- 
prenticed me to the muffin business, and I 
stuck to it for five years ; but when I was out 
of my time I made up my mind to cut it, and 
take to performing. First I played clown at a 
booth, for I had always a taste for the comio 
after I had played the de\-il, and danced round 
my uncle in the Covent-garden pantomime. 
Some time after that I took to play the drum 
and pipes ; and since then I have been chiefly 
performing as musicianer to different street 
exhibitions. When business is bad in the 
winter or wet weather, I make sweetmeats, 
and go about the streets and sell them. I 
never made muffins since I left the business ; 
you see, I've no stove nor shop for that, and 
never had the means of raising them. Sweet- 
meats takes little capital — tofiy, brandy-ballSy 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



130 



md Albert rock isn*t ezpensiTe to get up. Be- 
lideft, I'm known well among the children in 
the streets, and they likes to patronise the 
pmfession for sweetmeats, even though they 
vont giye nothing while you're a performing ; 
I\q done much the same since I took to the 
KUy Barlow, as I did before at the street 
business. We all share alike, and that's what 
I did as the drum and pipes. I never dress 
It home. My wife (I'm a married man) knows 
the part I play. She came to see me once, 
md langhed at me fit to bust. The landlord 
Mr the fellow-lodgers where I live — I have ft 
iwunto myself — ain't awaro of what I do; I 
ineiks my things out, and dresses at a public - 
house. It costs us a pot for dressing and a 
pot for ondressing. We has the use of the 
tip-room for that. I'm like the rest of the 
vorid at home — or rather more serious, 
maybe, — though, thank God, I don't want for 
food; things is cheap enough now; and if I 
can't get a living at the buffooner}' business, 

I vby I tries sweetmeats, and between the two 
I do manage to grab on somehow, and that's 

I aore than many of my purfession can do. 

I My pardner (a street-dancer whom he brought 
vith him) must either dance orstar\'e; and 

I there's plenty like him in the streets of Lon- 
don. I only know of one other Barlow but me 
in the business, and he's only taken to it oiler 
Bie. Some jokes ain't fit for ladies to listen to, 
bat wot I says is the best-approved jokes — such 
as has been fashionable for many years, und 
can't give no offence to no one. I say to the 
moiuciso, * Well, master, can you tell me why 
STB Che Thames Tunnel and Hungcrford Sus- 
pension Bridge like two joints badly done ? ' 
ball say, ' No, Mr. Barlow ;' and then I give 
him the answer : ' Because one is over-done, 
nd the other is under-done.' Then I raise 
a^wnbrella, saying, ^I think I'm pumided 
uninst the weather ; ' and as the umbrella is 
dtom and slit, it raises a laugh. Some days 
I get six shillings or seven shillings as my 
ihtze ; sometimes not a quarter of the money. 
fohaps I may average full eighteen shillings 
a-veek in the summer, or more; but not a 
poDnd. In the winter, if there's a subsistence, 
that's all. Joking is not natural to me, and 
I'm a steady man; it's only in the way of 
bmtinefiB, and I leave it on one side when I've 
gotmy private apparel on. I never tliink of my 
public character if I can help it, until I get 
ay show-dress on, and I'm glad to get it oti' 
tt night ; and then I think of my liome and 
cfaiUiien, and I struggle hard for them, and 
ieel disgust oft enough at having been a tom- 
fool to street fools." 

Stbollino AcTons. 

'VTbat are called strolling actors are those who 
go about the country and play at the various 
fkin and towns. As long as they are acting 
in a booth they are called canvas actors ; but 
iopposing they stop in a town a few days 



after a fair, or build up in a town where there 
is no fair, that constitutes what is tenued 
private business. 

" We call strolling acting * mumming,* and 
the actors * mummers.' All spouting is mum- 
ming. A strolling acU^r is supposed to know 
something of everything. He doesn't always 
get a part given to him to leara, but he's 
more often told what character he's to take, 
and what he's to do, and he's supposed to be 
able to find words capable of illustrating the 
character ; in fact, he has to * gag,' that is, 
make up words. 

** When old Richardson was alive, lie used 
to make the actors study their parts regularly; 
and there's Tliome and Bennett's, and Dou- 
glas's, and other large travelling concerns, 
that do so at the present time ; but where 
there's one that does, there's ten that don't 
I was never in one that did, not to study the 
parts, and I have been mumming, on and off, 
these ten years. 

"There's very few penny gaff^ in London 
where they speak; in fact, I only know ono 
where they do. It ain't allowed by law, and 
the police are uncommon sewere. They gener- 
ally play ballets and dumb acting, singing 
and dancing, and such-like. 

*' I never heard of such a thing as a canvas 
theatre being prosecuted for having speaking 
plays perfonned, so long as a fair is going on, 
but if it builds at other times I have known 
the mayor to object to it, ond order the com- 
pany away. Wlien we go to pitch in a town, 
we always, if it's a quiet one, ask permission 
of the mayor to let us build. 

" The mummers have got a slang of their 
own, which pailies connected with the perfes- 
sion generally use. It is called * mummers' 
slang,' and I have been told that its a com- 
pound of broken Italian and French. Some 
of the Romance is also mixed up with it. 
This, for instance, is the slang for • Give me a 
glass of beer,' — *Your nabs 8i)arkle my nabs,' 
' a drop of beware.' * I have got no money ' 
is, * My nabs has nanti dinali.' I'll give you a 
few sentences. 

" * Pami ' is rain ; and * toba ' is ground. 

" * Nonti numgare ' is — No food. 

" ' Nanti fogare' is — No tobacco. 

" * Is his nabs a bona press?' — Is he good for 
something to drink ? 

" ' Nanti, his nabs is a ketcva homer ' — No, 
he's a bad sort. 

'* ' The casa will parker our nabs multi ' 
means. — This house will tumble down. 

'* Vada the glaze' is — Look at the window. 

" These arc nearly all the mummers' slang 
words we use; but they apply to different 
meanings. We call breaktast, dinner, tea, 
supper, all of them * numgaro ;' and all beer, 
brandy, water, or soup, are * beware.' We call 
everjbody *his nabs,' or Mier nabs.' I went 
among the penny-ice men, who are Italian 
chaps, and I found that they were spealdng a 
lot of mummers' slang. It is a good deal 



IM 



LOSDON LABOUR JND THE LONDON POOR. 



Italian. We think it must have originated 
from Italians who went about doing panto- 
mimes. 

" Now, the way we count money is neaily all 
of it Italian; from one farthing up to a 
shilling is this :— 

^ ' Patina, nadsa, oni soldi, dney soldi, tray 
soldi, quatro soldi, chinqui soldi, say soldi, 
seter soldi, otter soldi, novra soldi, deshra 
soldi, lettra soldi, and a biouk.' A half-crown 
is a * metsa carroon ;' a * carroon ' is a crown ; 
<met5apunta' is half-a-sovereign ; a *pimta' 
is a pound. Even with these few words, by 
mixing them up witli a few EngUsh ones, we 
can talk away as fast as if we was using our 
own language. 

" Mumming at fairs is harder than private 
business, because you have to perform so 
many times. You only wear one dress, and 
all the actor is expected to do is to stand up 
to the dances outside and act in. Hell have 
to dance perhaps sixteen quadrilles in the 
course of the day, and act about as often 
inside. The company generally work in 
shares, or if they pay by the day, it's about 
four or five shillings a-day. When you go to 
get engaged, the firat question is, < What can 
you do ?' and the next, * Do you find your own 
properties, such as russet boots, your dress, 
nat and feathers, Sec V Of course they like 
vour dress tlic better if it's a showy one ; and 
It don't much matter about its corresponding 
with the piece. For instance, Henry the 
Second, in ' Fair Bosamond,' always comes on 
with a cavalier's dress, and nobody notices 
the difference of costume. In fact, the same 
dresses are used over and over again for the 
same pieces. The general dress for the lathes 
is a velvet skirt with a satin stomacher, with a 
gold band round tlie waist and a pearl band 
on the forehead. They, too, wear tlie same 
dresses for all the pieces. A regular fair show 
has only a small compass of dresses, for they 
only goes to the same places once in a year, 
and of course their costumes ain't remem- 
bered. 

*' The principal fair pieces are * Blue Beard,' 

* Robert, duke of Normandy,' and * Fiir Bosa- 
mond, or the Bowers of Woodstock.* I recol- 
lect once they played * Maria Maitin,' at a 
fair, in a company I was with, and we ])layed 
that in cavalior costume ; and so we did * I'he 
Murder at Slautield Hall,' Bush's attair, in 
dresses of the time of Charles the Second. 

** An BMJtors share •will average for a fair at 
five shillings a-day, if the fair is auythiuj? at 
all. When we don't work we don't pot pai«l, 
so that if we only do one fair a-weck, tliats 
fifteen shillings, unless we stop to do a day 
or two private business after the fair. 

" * Fair Bosamond ' isn't so good a piece as 

* Blue Beard,' for that's a great fair piece, and 
a never-faihng draw. Five years ago I was 
with a company — Star and Lewis were the 
acting managei's. Then *Blue Beard' was 
our favourite piece, and we played it five fairs 



out of six. * Fair Bosamond ' is too sent 
tal. They like a comedy man, and tli 
in ' Fair Bosamond' isnt nothing. The 
the secret- chamber scene in * Blue Beard 
generally done by the scene rolMng n] 
discovering another, with skeletons paint 
the back, and blue fire. We always c 
that scene with us wherever we went, ai 
the other pieces the same scenes did 
Star's, our scenes were somewhat abm 
feet wide and eight feet high. They all 
up, and there were generally about ft 
working order, with the drop curtain, 
made five. 

•'You may put the price of a goo< 
theatrical booth down at from fifty pom 
two hundred and fifty pounds. There's 
of them more expensive still. For ins^ 
the paintings alone on the fk>nt of Doc 
Shakesperian theatre, must have cost sc 
pounds ; and his dress must have cost i 
for he's got a private theatre at Boltoc 
he works them there as well as at fairs. 

" The * Bottle Imp ' is a very eflfbctiT 
piece. It opens with a scene of Venic« 
Willebald and Albert, which is the ec 
man and the juvenile. The comic 
principal lino is, * I'll tell your mother,' 
time Albert wants to go and see his i 
heart, or if he's doing anything that he 1 
improper. In the first act Albert goes 1 
sweetheart's house, and the father conse 
their imion, pro^-ided he can gain so 
ducats. Albert then finds out a strangei 
is Nicolo, who asks him to gamble with 1 
dice : Albert says he is poor. Nicolo si 
once was poor, but now he has ijreat w 
He then tells Albert, that if he likes he ( 
rich too. He says, *Have you ni»t hef 
imps and bottle imps T * Stuff!' says A 
* me, indeed ! a poor artist ; I have* hea 
such things, but I heed them not.* 
boy,' sa}-s Nicolo, * I have that in my possi 
will moke you rich indeed; a drop o 
elixir in this bottle, rubbed on the ob 
will give you all you require ; and if ere 
wish to part with it, you must sell it fb: 
tlian you gave.' He gives three ducats 
and as he gives the money the demon li 
from the side, *Ha! ha! ha! mine, n: 
Albert looks amazed. Nicolo says, 
youth ! may you know more happiness t 
have whilst I had that in my possession : 
then ho goes off. ^Vlbert then tries the ] 
of the bottle. He says, *What, ho! I 
for wine,' and it's shoved on from the 
As he is drinking, Willebald exclaims 
dear, O dear ! I've been looking for my m 
O that I were only safe back again in Tl 
neetUe-stroet ! Ill never go hunting ] 
girls again. Oh, won't I tell his mo 
' How now, caitiff! — Leave me I' says k 
' All right,' says Willebald ; * Til leave ; 
won't I tell your mother !' 

** When Willebald goes, Albert wish< 
sleep, and the Bottle Imp replie<^ ' All 



LONDON LABOUR AKD THE LONDON POOR. 



lU 



Irishes shall he gratified, excepting one. Sleep 
jou cairaot have while I ani in yonr posses- 
non.' The demon then seizes him by the 
throat, and Albert falls on Htage, demon 
exulling over him. Enter Willebald, who, 
teeing the demon, crie», ' Harder ! nuirder ! 
Oh, won't I tell their mothers !' and that ends 
the first act. 

••In the second and lost act, Albert gives 

TTiUehald instmctinns to sell the bottle ; * but 

it is to be for less than tbree dnoats.' Wille- 

bald says, * No mariue-storekecpcr woidd 1 

give three ducats for an old bottle ;' but lie | 

goes off shontinpr, out * Who'll buy a bottle ? j 

Wholl buy a Ixittle?* In thrt next scene, 

Willebald is still shouting his bottle for sole, 

witlk folks laughing? oft' sin.qe and clogs b.-u-k- 

iBg. He says, * Ab ! laugh nwny. Its wrll to 

be merrj', but Fm obliged to cry — Who'll buy 

a bottle?* He thcrn snys he's 'not goiii^' 

wilking abont all day selling a bottle ;' and 

then he says he's got two ducats, and hfj'll 

buy tlie bottle himself, sooner ibnn tnidge 

ikiot Venice. Then he sny.s, * Ob, 'Mr. Bottle. 

heK are the dncats : now you are mine.* Tben 

the demon cries, 'IMinr*, mine!' lie snys it 

WiB only the wind. Then he snys, * Oh, bow I 

iriih I was at home la^xm, and ht.-iird my little 

brothera and sisters bin^nrig !' And instantly 

from the sides you liear. • Hoys and girls come 

on to play !' Then Willfbfdd snys, • I wish 

you'd hold yonr tongue, you littlo brutes !' and 

they oeaae. Next he complains that he's so 

poor, and he wishes it would rain gold on him, 

md then down comes a shower. Tben in 

eomea Albert, who usks whether the bottle 

haa been sold : and Willebald replies that 

it's an right. * Thank benvons.' crios Albert ; 

* bat yet I pity the misoruble wretch who bos 

bought it.' • What do you mean ? O deiir, 

Odear! to frighten ono so! Ill t«.»ll your 

Bother!* * Know ye not, caitilF! ' continues 

Albert, ' that tliat bottle contains a demon ? 

what a weipht hast thou removed from my 

heart!' As Willebald is deploring his lot, 

€Mer a poor man. who asks for a drink of 

ynu^r ; and Willebald tells him lie can't give 

bim any water, but he has an elixir he hIhiII 

biTc very cheap. The old man replies tliat 

be hasn't got more than a petnni, which is the 

sitietb part of a farthing. However, WiUe- 

Wd sells liim the bottle ; and as it's the 

•mallest coin in the worbl, and the bottle 

cm't go no cheaper, the demon rushes in and 

•axes the beggar, who turns out to be Nicolo, 

^ ftrst who sold the bottle. As he is being 

cvritMl off, Willebald cries out, * For shame, 

yon agly devil ! to treat the old gentleman like 

tbit • Wont I tell your mother I' and down 

ctmes the cnrtain. 

**The * Bottle Imp' is a very succcssfiU 
romantic drama. There's plenty of blue fire 
in it. The 'Bottle Imp' have it at every 
cotnnce that fellow do. There is some booths 
that are fonder of the * Bottle Imp' than any 
odwr piece. We played it at Bill Weale'a 



No. LXIII. 



theatre more than any other drama. The 
imp is always acted by a man in a cloak with 
a mask on. Yon can see his cavalier boots 
under his cloak, but that dont matter to 
holiday folk when once they know it's intended 
to be a demon. 

"It's a voiy jolly life strolling, and I 
wouldn't leave it for any other if I had my 
choice. At times it's hord lines ; but for my 
part I prefer it tn any other. It's about tilteen 
shillings a-week for certain. If you can make 
up your mind to sleep in the booth, it aint 
such bad poy. But the most of the men go to I 
lodgings, and they don't foi-get to boast of it. \ 
'Where do you lodge?' one 11 ask. * Oh, I j 
lodged at such a place,' says another; for 
we're all tirst-rate fellows, if you can got any- 
body to believe us. 

"Mummers' feed is a herring, which we 
call a pheasant. After performance we gene- 
rally disperse, and those who have lotlginga 
go to 'em ; but if any sb»cp in the booth, turn 
in. I'erhnps there's a batch of coftee brmight 
forwards, a sul^scription supper of three. I'he 
coffee and sugar is put in a kettle and boiled 
up, and then served up in what we can get : 
either a saucepan lid, or a cocoa-nut shell, or 
a publican's jjot, or whatever they can get. 
Mummers is the pooi-est, llashest, and most 
independent race of men going. If y(»u was 
to offer some of them a shilling tliey'd refuse 
it, though the most of them would take iL 
Tlio generality of them is cobblers' lads, and 
tailors' apprentices, and clerks, and they do 
accoimt for that by tlieir having so much time 
to study over tlieir work. 

" Private business is a better sort of acting. 
There we do nearly tlie entire piece, with only 
the diflicult parts cut out. We only (li> the 
outline of the story, and gag it up. We've 
done various plays of Shakspeare in this w.i}-, 
such as ^Ilamlct' or ' Othello,' but only on 
benefit occasions. Then we go as near as 
memory will let us, but we must never ajipear 
to be stuck for words. Our prices of admis- 
sion in the country for private business is 
threepence and sixpence, or sometimes six- 
pence or one shilling, for it all depends upon 
the town, but hi l.ondon it's oftener one 
p«.nny and twopence. We only go to the out- 
skirts and act there, for they won't allow us in 
the str<fets. The principal parts for pitching 
the booth for private business in I/mdon, is 
about LoclwS-fields, Walworth. We opened 
there about six years ago last Easter. 

'* Onr rehearsals for a ])iece are the funniest 
things in tho worliU Perhaps we are going 
to play * The Floating Beacon, or The Weird 
Woman of the Wreck.' The manager will, 
when the night's perfonnan re is over, call the 
company together, and he'll say to the low- 
comedyman, * Now, you play Jock Jimk, and 
this is your part: you're supposed to fetch 
Frederick for to go to sea. Frederick geU 
capsized in the boat, and gets aboard of the 
fiooting beaoun. Yon go to search for him. 



Vw 



142 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



and the smnggleiB tell yon he's not aboard, 
and they give yon the lie; then you say, 
< What, the lie to a English sailor ! ' and you 
chuck your quid in his eye, saying, * Tve had 
it for the last fourteen days, and now I scud it 
with a ftill sail into your lubberly eye/ Then 
you have to get Frederick ofL* 

"• Then the manager will turn to the juve- 
nile, and say, * Now, sir, you'll play Frederick. 
Now then, Frederick, you're in love with a giil, 
and old Winslade, the father, is very fond of 
you. Tou get into the boat to go to the ship, 
and you're wrecked and get on to the beacon. 
You're very faint, and stagger on, and do a 
back fall. You're picked up by the weird wo- 
man, and have some dialogue with her; and 
then you have some dialogue with the two 
smugglers, Ormaloff and Augerstoff. You 
pretend to sleep, and they're going to stab you, 
when the wild woman screams, and you awake 
and have some more dialogue. Then they 
bring a bottle, and you begin drinking. You 
change the cups. Then there's more dialogue, 
and you tackle Ormaloff. Then you discover 
your mother and embrace. Jack Junk saves 
you. Form a picture with your mother, the 
girl, and old Winslade, and Jack Junk over 
you.* 

** That's his part, and he's got to put it to- 
gether and do the talk. 

^ Then the manager turns to Ormaloff and 
Augerstofi^ and says : * Now, you two play the 
smugglers, do you hear? You're to try and 
poison the young fellow, and you're defeated.' 

** Then he say to the wild woman : ' You're 
kept as a prisoner aboard the beacon, where 
your husband has been murdered. You have 
refused to become the wife of Ormaloff Your 
child has been thrown overboard. You dis- 
cover him in Frederick, and you scream when 
they are about to stab him, and also when he's 
about to drink. Make as much of it as you 
can, please ; and dont forget the scream.' 

** * Winslade, you know your part. You've 
only got to follow Junk.' 

**' You're to play the lady, you Miss. 
You're in love with Frederick. You know the 
old business: *What! to part thus? Alas! 
alas ! never to this moment have I confessed 
I love you ! ' ' 

^ That's a true picture of a mimiming re- 
hearsal, whether it's fair or private business. 
Some of the young chaps stick in their parts. 
They get the stage-fever and knocking in the 
knees. We've had to shove them on to the 
scene. They keep on asking what they're to 
say. <0h, say anything!' we tell 'em, and 
push 'em on to the stage. 

** If a man's not gifted with the gab, he's 
no good at a booth. I've been with a chap 
acting * Mazy Woodbine,' and he hasn't known 
a word of his part Then, when he's stuck, 
he has seized me by the throat, and said, 
* Caitiff! dog ! be sure thou provest my wife 
unfaithful to me.' Then I saw his dodge, and 
I said, ' Oh, my lord ! ' and he continued — 



* Give me the proof, or thou hadst best been 
bom a dog.' Then I answered, *My lord, 
you wrong your wife, and torture me ; ' and he 
said, * Forward, then, liar ! dog!' and we both 
rushed off. 

" We were acting at Lock's-fields, Walworth, 
once, doing private business, when we got 
into trouble, and were all put into prison foe 
playing without a license. We had built up 
in a piece of private ground — in a dust-yard 
known as Calf's — and we had been thers 
eleven months doing exceedingly weU. We 
treated the policeman eveiy'night, and gave 
him as much, with porter and money, that was 
equal to one shilling a-night, which was taken 
up from the company. It was something like 
a penny Srpiece for the policeman, for we 
were rather afraid of something of the kind 
happening. 

" It was about the time that * Oliver Twist' 
was making such a success at the oAer 
theatres, and so we did a robbery from it, and 
brought out our version as * The Golden Far- 
mer.' Instead of having an artfiU dodge, we 
called our oomio character Jimmy Twitdier, 
and made him do all the artful-dodgery bua- 
ness. We had three performanoes a-nigh( ia 
those days. We was in our second perfoim* 
ance, and Jimmy Twitcher was in Uie act of 
getting through the window, and Hanuner, 
the auctioneer, was asleep, saying in his sleep, 

* Knock 'em down ! gom^ ! going ! gone ! * 
when I saw the police in pnvate clothes rising 
from the front seats, and coming towards tht 
stage. They opened the side door, and let 
the other police in, about forty of them. Theni 
the inspector said, ' Ladies and gentlemen, I 
forbid any of you to move, as I arrest thon 
people for performing without a Ucense.* No- 
body moved. Three police took hold of me, 
one at each arm, and one at the back of the 
neck. They wouldn't allow us to change onr 
dresses, nor to take our other clothes, though 
they were close by. They marched us off to 
the Walworth station, along with about a 
hundred of the spectators, for some of them 
got away. My wife went to fetch my dothet 
for me, and they took her, too, and actoaUy 
locked her up all night, though she was to 
near her pregnancy that the doctor orderad 
her pillows to sleep on. In the morning thej 
took us all before the magistrate. The au- 
dience were fined one shilling a-head, or-seven 
days; but they paid the shilling. We wen 
all ^ed twenty shillings, or fourteen daja. 
Some paid, but I couldn't raise it, so I wis 
walked oflL 

** We were all in an awful fright when wo 
found ourselves in the police-cell that night 
Some said we should get six months, others 
twelve, and all we could say was, * What on 
earth will our o/d women do?' 

*' We were all in our theatrical costumai* 
I was Hammer, the auctioneer, dressed in ft 
long white coat, with the swaUow-tailS toodh- 
ing the ground, and blue bottoms. I had * 



LOlfbON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR 



143 



long figtired chintz waistcoat, and a pair of 
teb knee-breeches, grey stockings, and low 
ikoes, and my hat was a white one with a low 
cfown and broad brim, like a Quaker's. To 
coaiplete it, I wore a fiill bnshy wig. As we 
▼ere being walked off from Walworth to 
K«mington-lane, to go before the magistrate, 
the tops of the houses and the windows were 
ftil of people, waiting to see us come along in 
onr druses. They laughed more than pitied 
-QB. The police got pelted, and I caught a 
«vere blow by accident, from a turnip out of 
a greengrocer's shop. 

** I served all the time at Kingston, in my 
llMatrical dress. I had nothing but bread and 
▼iter all the time, with gruel for breakfast 
nd sapper. I had to pick oakum and make 
■•ts. I was only there two days before I was 
' Mde deputy- wardsman, for they saw I was a 
decent sort of fellow. I was very much cut 
up, thinking of the wife so near her confine- 
ment It was very hard, I thought, putting 
« in prison for getting our bread, for we never 
kid any warning, whatever our master may 
kire had. I can tell you, it was a nail in my 
Mfci, these fourteen days, and one of us, of 
the name of Chau, did actually die through 
it, for he was of a very delicate constitution, 
nd the cold laid hold of him. Why, fellows 
ef our life and animation, to be shut up like 
ihit, and not allowed to utter a word, it was 
dicaidAd severe. 

** At this time a little penny work came out, 
•Blitled the * Groans of the Gallows.' I Tt as 
voridng at an establishment in Whitechapel, 
and it was thought that something fresh would 
be a draw, and it was suggested that we should 
play this • Groans of the Gallows,' for eveiy- 
ttiag aboat hanging was always a hit There 
¥■ such a thing as ten people in the piece, 
iodfive was prominent characters. We got it 
written by one of the company, and it was 
ciQed ' The Groans of the Gallows, or The 
Hangman's Career, illustrated with pictures.' 
tWs is how we brought it out. After an 
^fttture, the curtain rose and discovered a 
iranp on the stage, all with pots and pipes, 
fin measures, «tc They sing, * We won't go 
home till morning,' and *Kightly's a jolly 
food fellow.' Here the hangman is carousing 
vidi them, and his wife comes in and upbraids 
Mm with his intoxicating habits, and tells 
him that he spends all the money instead of 
forriding food for the children. A quarrel 
«isiies, and he knocks her down with a quart 
fotand kills her. I was the hangman. There 
•then a picture of amazement from all, and 
he's repenting of what he's done. He then 
lays, ' This comes of a little drinking. From 
As half-pint to the pint, from the pint to the 
M and so on, till ruin stares me in the face. 
AoC content with starving my children, I have 
miirdered ray wife. Oh that this may bo a 
Boraltoall!' 

, **The officers come in and arrest him, when 
CBtns the sheriff^ who tells him that he has 



forfeited his life ; but that there is a vacancy 
for the public executioner, and that if he will 
accept the office his life shall be spared. He 
accepts the office, and all the characters groan 
at bun. This ends the first scene. In the 
second enters Kightly and two officers, who 
have got him and accuse him of murder. He 
is taken off proclaiming his innocence. Scene 
the third. Kightly discovered at table in con- 
demned cell, a few months supposing to have 
elapsed. The bell is tolling, and the hour of 
seven is struck. Enter sheriflfe with hangman, 
and they tell him to do his duty. They then 
leave him, and he speaks thus : * At length, 
then, two little months only have elapsed, and 
you, my friend and pot- companion, aye, and 
almost brother, are the first victim that I 
have to execute for murder,' — and I shudder 
you know — * which I know you are innocent of. 
Am / not a murderer, and do I not deserve 
hanging more than you? but the law will 
have it's way, and I, the tool of that law, must 
carry it into force. It now becomes my painful 
duty to pinion your arms.' Then I do so, and 
it makes such a thrill through the house. ' I 
now take you from this place to your execu- 
tion, where you will be suspended for one 
hour, and then it is my duty to cut you down. 
Have you any request to make?' He cries 
* None I' and I add, * Then follow me.' I always 
come on to that scene with a white night-cap 
and a halter on my arm. All the audience was 
silent as death as I spoke, and with tears in 
their eyes. Scene the fourth. Gallows being 
erected by workmen. That's a picture, you 
know, our fixing the top beam with a hammer, 
another at the bottom, and a third arranging 
the bolt at the top. The bell still tolling, you 
know. Ah, it brought it home to one or two 
of them, I can tell you. As soon as the work- 
men have finished they go off. Enter pro- 
cession of sheriff, parson, hangman, and the 
victim, with two officers behind. The parson 
asks the victim if he has any request to make, 
and he still says ' None,' only he is innocent 
The sherifis then tell the hangman to do his 
duty. He then places the white cap over the 
man's head, and the noose about his neck, 
and is about leaving to draw the bolt, when I 
exclaim, * Something here tells me that I 
ought not to hang this man. He is innocent, 
and I know it I cannot, and I will not take 
his life.' Enter officer in haste, with pardon 
for Kightly. I then say, * Kightly, you are 

free ; live and be happy, and I am ' Here 

the sheriff adds, * Doomed to the galleys for 
life.' That's because I refused to kill him, you 
know. I then exclaim, * Then I shall be 
h^PPy* knowing that I have not taken this 
man's life, and be thus enabled to give up the 
office of executioner and it's most horrid 
paraphernalia.' Then there's blue fire and 
end of piece. 

*• That piece was very successful, and run 
for three weeks. It drew in a deal of money. 
The boys used to run after mo in the 



144 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON P0OJL 



stteets and call me Caloraft, 80 great was 
the fait I miule in the part. On one oo- 
casion a woman was to be himg, and I was 
goioK along Newgate, jnist the prison, on the 
Sundiiy evening. There waft a qnantily of 
peojilo congrrguteil, and some of the lads 
then rccognisetl me from seeing me act in the 

* Gronns Irum the Gallows,' and they sung out 

* Here comes (Jalcralt!* Eveiy eye was turned 
towards me. Some said, ' No, no ; that ain't 
him :' but tlie boys replied, *• Oh, yes it is ; 
that's the man that placed it at the gaff.' Of 
course I mizzled, for fear of a stone or two. 

'*Tlie pay of an actor in private business 
rarioK from two shillings and sixpence to 
three sliillings, and each man is also supposed 
to sin^ two songs in each perfoimance, wliich 
mokes three ])urformances a night besides 
perfonuing a sketch. Your engagement lasts 
as long ns you suit the audience ; for if you'ra 
a fuvotuite you may have such a tiling as nine 
months at a time. Whenever we have a 
henotit it's a tii-ket one, which amounts to 
two hmidred tickets and your night's salar>', 
which gcnerslly biings you in a pound, with your 
pay incluiled. There's one in the company 
generally has a benefit every Thursday, so 
that your turn comes once in about six montlis, 
for the musicians, and the checktokers, and all 
has their turn. 

** The expense of putting a new piece on f lie 
stage is not more than a pound, and tliat in- 
clud«;snew scenery. They never do such a thing 
as buy new dw^sses. rerhn]»3 they pay sucli 
a thinir as six shillings a-wcek for their ward- 
i-oliO to hire the dresses. Some gives as much 
as ten shillings ; but then, naturally, the cos- 
tume is more showj'. All that we an» sup- 
posed to find is russet boots, a set of llesh- 
ing;4, a ballot shirt, and a A\ig. 

" T<)wn w«irk is the m(»re quiet and moro 
general-business like. Then?'s no casualty in 
it, for you're not in shares, but on salaries, 
and after your work there's your money, for 
we are paid nightly. I have known as much 
as thirty-live sliillings a-weok given at «)ne of 
these theatres, when tlie admission is only a 
penny and twojTencc. "Where I was at it 
would hold from six to seven himdred people, 
and there was throe performances a-night ; 
and, indeed, on Saturdays and Mondays t'ene- 
rally four. We have no extra pay for extra 
performances. The time allowed for each 
representation is from one hour to nn hour and 
three-quarters. If we find tliere is a likeli- 
hofjd of a fomth house, wo leave out a 
s<mg each sinjjrer, and that saves half an 
hour. As soon as one house is turned out 
onotlier comes in, for they anj always waiting 
outside the doors, and there is a rush imme- 
diately the house is empty. We begin at six 
and are over by a few minutes before twelve. 
When we do si>eaking pieces wo have to do it 
on the sly, as we should be stopped and get 
into trouble." 



BaLLBT PSBIOBXEBf. 

** The Ballet," said a street-daaeer to me, *' u « 
▼617 ikvourito amuBement with the people who 
go to cheap penny theatras. They are all 
comic, like pantomimes; indeed, they oome- 
under that term, only there's no oomic acenet 
or troosfomiations. They're like the stoiy 
of a pantfimime, and notliing else. Neaii; 
all the popular downs are famous for their 
ballet iierformances ; they take the comic parts 
mostly, and the pantaloons toko the old men's 
parts. Ballets have been favourites in this 
uountr}' for forty or fifty year. There is alwayv 
a comic part in every ballet. I have known. 
ballctH to be vor}' popiUar for ever since I cin 
rememluir, — and Uiat's thirty years. AtaU 
tlie gatrs, where tliey are afhiid to speak 
their parts tliey always have a balleL Eveiy 
one in London, and tliero are plenty of them» 
have one every nijrht, for it's ver}- seldom they 
ventiure upon a talking play. 

" In all ballets tlio costume is fnuciful. The 
yomig ladies come on in short petticoat^,, 
like them at the opera. S<imo of the gurk. 
wo have ixre the siimo as have been in the 
o])era cori>s-de-ballet. ^Ir. Flexmore, the ce- 
lebrated clown, is a ballet performer, and 
then*'K not a greater man going for the ballet 
tliat he appears in. called ^ The Dancing Scotoh* 
man.' There's I*aul Herring, too; lie's veiy 
famous. U(.>'s the only man I know of that 
can play I'uuch, for ho works the speaker in 
his mouth ; and he's been a great Punch-and> 
Judy man in bis time. lie's very clever !& 
• The Sprite of tlie Vineyanl, or tlio Meny 
Devil of Como.' They've brcn playing it at 
Crt* mome laUily, and a very successful allair 
it was. 

** When a professional goes to a ffaff to gel 
an cngaKemeiiU they in general inquires whe- 
ther lit! is a gooil ballet performer. Kveri'thing 
depends upon tliut. The\' also acts ballets at 
some of the cjucert-rooms. At the Bisinjf 
Sun, Knightsbridge, as well as the Brown 
Bear, lv.nightsbri<lge. they play them for A. 
week at a time, and then drop them for a tart- 
nigiit for a change, and p(>rhaps have tumblera. 
instead; then they have tlir'iti again for a weok^ 
and so on. In Botditfo Highway, at Ward's 
Hoop and Grapes, and also the Albion, and 
the Prince lU^gent, they always play ballets at 
stilted intervals. Also the Kfilngham Saloon, 
Whitechapel, is a celebrated bidlei- house. The 
admission to all Uiese hoimes is ^(i. I be- 
lieve. At the Highway, when the sli^g ave 
u]) and the sailors ashore, business is YCfj 
biisk, and they are admitted to the rooms gra- 
tuitously ; and a fine thing they make of them^ 
for they are good hearted fellows and don't 
mind what money they bpeud. I've known one 
who was a little way goiu; to chuck ]ialf-a> 
crown on the stage to some actor, and Tv^ 
known others to spend a ])Ound at one bit,—- 
standing to all round! Qnu night, when I 



LOVDON LABOUB AND THE LONDON POOR. 



14A 



erforming ballets at the Bising Snn, 
tiibiidge, Mr. Hill, the Queen's coach- 
hrewiue two half-crowns on to the stage, 
d been supposed to be fighting, — I and 
kte, — and to hare got so exhausted we 
)WB, and Mr. Hill come and poured 
glasses of port-wine negus down our 
» aa we laid. I've repeatedly had It. 
. thrown to mo b^ the grooms of the 
nt people of nobility, such as the Bus- 
nd various other families. 
good ballet performer will get averaging 
. pound to 3djr. arweek. They call Pai^ 
ig a star, and he la one, for he always 
wherever he goes. I goneitdly get my 
hats my running price, though I try for 
I. ; but '25«. is about my mark. 1 have 
, modt' Paul Herring my stuily, and I 
get to perform with Iiim, for he's the 
own of thi? day, and a credit to work with. 

8 impossible to say how many ballet 
mers th«*re are. There are such a host 
m it's impossible to state that, for they 
} so. Then a great many are out of em- 
ent untU Christmas, for that gt-nendly 
e vacancies up. My wife does a little in 
, though sho is i)rineipally a poses plas- 
jirl, 1 married my wilo otl* the table. 

le of the most kuccpssIuI biill(»ts is tlie 
Blanche. It has been perfonned at 
Lheatre in London, both the cheap and 
*gular. The Surrey is an enormous 
or it. It came out, I believe, in Giimuldi's 
It was played a fortnight ago at the 
:, and I took the port of the old man, 
was very successful; so far so, that I 
dtuation for Christmas. lt*s nn excel- 
lot, and runs an hour and a quarter to 

begins with a romantic view, with a 
i on the right hand, and whitu palings 
it, ond a »iuantity of straw laying on the 
The villagers and the lover come on. 
goes to cottage door and knocks three 

when lady appeal's atwind<»w. Ho bal- 
t her, * Will you come down here and 
f * Slie comes, and th«*y all do a country 
At the end of the dance the old man 
rd to cough inside cottage. He opens 
Bdow and sees the girl outside, and 
I his fist at her. The lover hides be- 
3C lady. Ho comes out and sends his 
Ler into cottage, and sends tlie lover off 

his business. Ho refuses to do so. 
Id man makes a blow at him with his 

he makes another, wlien lover bobs 
ind stick strikes Pierrot in the face, and 

9 him down. This Pierrot is the Simp- 
thc bullet, and he's dressed in white, 

30g sleeves, and a white face, and white 
on his head. The ballot is from the 
b, and its real title is ' La Statue Blanche,' 
li we call it * The Statue Blanche.' 
9ver is driven off stage, and old man 
up Simpkin, and ballets to him that he's 
oixy but he thought it was the lover, and 



tells him to hide under the stxmw which ia on 
the stage, and that if the lover cornea again to 
lay hold of him, to call asmstancc. Ha 
hides, and old man goes into cottage. 

^ Lover comes a^oin with viUof^ers carrying 
flails, and they begm to thresh thu straw with 
Simpkin under it They thresh him round 
stage. He knocks at door three timea, aad 
the third blow knocks oM man in the face. 
Out he comes staggering. The old man 
threatens to sack lover. He goes into cottage 
and brings out lover's bundle, and throws it to 
lover, and sends him away. The lover appeals 
to old man, but all to no use. The lover then 
ballets to him that ho has got no money, so 
the old man hands his purse, which Simpkia 
takes and carries up stage. The lover atill- 
asks for money, and the old man is astoniabed,.. 
and then turns round and sees Simpkin, and 
makes him return it Exit old man and Simp- 
kin into cottage, leaving lover on stage. He 
h?an8 against wing very disconsolate, when an 
artist comes on with a scrap-book to sketch 
the scene. He asks the lover what is the mat- 
ter, and then he tells him he has a plan if 
lover will become a skctcher ; and if he likes to 
do so, he will make, a statue of him and sell 
him to the old man, as he deals in antiquities, 
and by that plan he will be able to gain the- 
girl. They go off, and another obi mnii comes 
on and knocks at door, which old father opens, 
and tldnking it is lover tumbles him over. Ho 
then says he's very sorry for mistaking him for 
the lover. They make it up, and the old man 
says he has plenty of money, and has come to 
marrj' the daughter. They embrace, and old 
father invites old man to 8t4>p inside and have 
something to drink. As the setrond old man 
is going in, the Simpkin jumps over his head 
and hides ; and old man swears it is the lover, 
and hunts for liim, but cant find him, and 
enters cottage. The second scene has got the^ 
tea business in it, and the blacking of the old 
lover's face. The comic business here is, they 
are ha^'ing tea, and Simpkin is waiting on 
them, and does every thing ver}* clumsy. He 
carries on the old business of stirring the 
tea up with a candle, and then he puts the 
dirty kettle on the cloth and mokes a mark ; so 
he thinks for a minute, and then wipes the 
bottom of the kettle with the old lovor'a 
handkeitihief when he is not looking. Then 
Simpkin steals the milk-jug, and as he is 
drinking the old father hits him on the 
stomach, and makes him sputter in old lover's 
face, whr) instantly snatches up the dirty 
handkerchief to wipe his face, and blacks it 
all over with the soot from the bottom of the 
kettle. Then there is some comic businoaa 
about Simpkin breaking tlie tea-things, and 
bursting a coat in two; and then scene 
changes to a romantic view, with a pedestal in 
the centre, and statue on it The old father 
comes on with the girl and Simpkin, and the 
villagers, who have all come to riew the statue. 
The old wiftw then caJ[b the artist, and tells him 



146 



LONDOK LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



to wind up the Btatae that he may see how it 
works. The statne does several positions, and 
the old man hays it They all go off hut 
Simpkin, the lac^, and the old man. (The 
statue is still on the pedestal, you know.) The 
old man cautions Simpkin not to touch the sta- 
tue, for he's going away. As soon as he is gone, 
Simpkin goes and winds it up until he hreaks 
the spring. Then in oomes Uie old man again, 
and the fool goes to a comer and protends to 
be asleep. He is pulled up by the ear and 
shown what he has done, and is about to 
be beaten, when girl intercedes and puts 
the statue to rights. They go off, leaving 
Simpkin with the statue. Lady returns, and 
statue jumps down and embraces her. The 
statue Uien takes off his helmet and wig, and 
chucks it at Simpkin, and rushes off with girl, 
and the clown mounts tlio pedestal. Enter 
old man, who ballets that he'll Iiave a tium as 
nobody is there. He goes and looks at statue, 
and perceives that he is in a different position. 
He turns the handle and Simpkin jumps about, 
burlesquing what the lover has done. Then 
Simpkm jumps down, and pushes the old man 
round stage with a club in his hand. Old 
man sings out ' Murder ! ' when lover returns 
with girl and stops Simpkin from knocking 
him down. They tell the old man they are 
married, and he joins their hands, and a 
general dance winds up the performance. 

** That's one of the most successful ballets 
ever imagined, and in its time has drawn 
thousands and thousands to see it. I dont 
know who wrote the ballet, but I should ima- 
gine it was the property of Grimaldi's father, 
who was a great pantomimist. 

*' There's a new ballet, called * The Dream 
before the Wedding, or the Ploughboy turned 
Sailor.' That one depends more upon the 
lover than the comic man. There's another, 
called * The Boatman of the Ohio. ' That's a 
comic nigger ballet, in which the banjo and 
bones are introduced ; and there's a ver}- funny 
duet song, to the tune of * Roley poley.' They 
both hide in a clock-case to hide from the old 
man, and they frighten each other, for they put 
their ugly black faces out and take each other 
for the devil. Then there's * The Barber and 
the Beadle.' The barber is one of Paul Her- 
ring's favourite characters. I^'e done the 
beadle to his barber. There's a very first- 
rate scene in it with the fop, — Jemmy Green 
he's called, a cockney sort of a fellow, — and 
this barber has to shave him, and cuts his 
nose, and ties him in a chair, and shoves the 
soap-suds in his mouth. This fop is arranging 
with the father about the daughter, and the 
barber ties a line to a pole and fishes off the 
old man's wig. The beadle is the father of 
the girl. It goes immense. I've played in it 
during my time more than 400 times. 

** Another famous ballet is * The Cobbler 
and the Tailor.' There's a celebrated fight in 
that, between the tailor with his sleeve-board 
and goose, and the cobbler with his clam and 



his awl. The tailor tries to bum me with the 
goose, and he hunts me all abouL W« are 
about twenty minutes fighting. It's a never- 
failing fight, that is. The ueeve-boards are 
split to mdie a noise at each knock, and so is 
the clam. There's one, two, three, four, 
and a crack on the nob. We keep it up till 
both are supposed to fall down exhausted. 
Then there's crowing ' Cock-a-doodle-doo ' at 
each other. We ei^oy it just as much as the 
audience do, for it's very f\inny. Although 
the shirt is sticking to our backs with perspur- 
ation, we enter into the sport quite like them 
in front. We generally prefer winter for this 
ballet, for it's hot work ; or if it's in the open 
air, like in gardens, then it's -'very delightfrd. 

" One of the principal things in ballet per- 
forming is to be able to do the raps, or slaps, 
well and quickly. A fellow gives me a clap 
on the face in the piece, then I have to slap 
my hands together, and make a noise as if he 
had given me a tremendous knock down. Of 
course, the closer the sound is to the blow, 
the better is the effect ; and the art is to do it 
close. That's what we call good working. 
The people, of course, fbllow with their eye 
the fist of the striker, and the one struck has 
his arms down in front, and claps them to- 
gether. It is the same work as they do in 
the pantomimes. Another trick is hitting 
the knuckles when fighting, also striking on 
the head. That's done by holding the stick 
close to the pate, and that takes the blow. 
On the knuckles the striker aims just above 
the fingers. It wants a quick eye. A fellow 
caught me on the nose, at the Bower, the 
other night, and took the skin off the tip ; and 
there's tlie mark now, you see. The pnncipal 
distinction between pantomimes and ballets is 
that there are more cascades, and trips, and 
valleys in pantomimes, and none in ballets. 

'* A trip is a dance between Harlequin and 
the Columbine ; and cascades and vsdleys aie 
trundling and gymnastic performances, such 
as tumbling across the stage on wheels, and 
catching hold of hands and twirling round. 

'* We have done a kind of speaking ballet, 
where there is a little singing and tallung just 
to help out the plot. It is a kind of panto- 
mime sketch. It is entitled, * The Magie 
Mirror, or how to reclaim a dnmken Sen-ant' 
I was the author of it, for I'm generally en- 
gaged expressly to get up ballets, and occa- 
sionally they expect me to do a new one for 
them. I get frx>m 25<. to dO<. a- week for such 
an engagement. The scene opens with a 
chamber in the fit>nt of the stage, with a candle 
on the table nearly burnt out The clock 
strikes four. A servant in liveiy is waiting up 
for liis other servant He yawns and does 
the sleepy business. Then he says, ' TMien- 
ever it is Thomas's day out he stops so very 
late ; master has threatened to discharge him, 
and he will get the sack. Would that I could 
reclaim him ! I will endeavour to do so. I 
wish he would return. ' And that's the cue for 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOM. 



147 



tier one off the stage to begin singing 
een roving, I've been roving,* &e. Then 
mest servant says, ' He comes ! Now 

form a magic looking-glass, wherein 
L see his errors. Now to procure four 
of timber.' He does so, and makes a 
» frame or strainer. < Now for a few 

He gets them, and then takes a 
curtain down from the window, and 
it on the back of the frame, which forms 
ing-glass. Then lights is turned down 
ge, and he puts a candle behind the 
', which illuminates this gauze, you see. 
en hides behind the glass, 
tiomas comes in very tipsy. He does 
ronken business, and then says, ' I*ve 
Ike best of cheer. I've been down to 
r Cheer's, and had the best of ale, and 
jood gin, and better brandy;' at which 
MXk behind the frame echoes, ' Better 
f.* Thomas is alarmed. He looks 
i and says, * That was the echo.' To 
the voice rephes, * That was the echo.' 
they repeat this business ; Thomas geU 
tin more nervous. He says, ' Well, I 
e, I'm getting quite melancholy. I'll see 
m^:ing can do to rouse me a little. ' He 
•egms,— 

ris lorm that rales the eoortfl and the city, 
It nilet both the high and the low ; 

tet aometixDes—the more is the pity — 

TottOffCupid won't rosin his bow. 

won't rosin his bow.' 

he 0»m takes up ' Rosin his bo-o-o-o-w.' 
ime this is going on, the other servant 
••Bing himself to represent the other; 
Bg hb hair, and painting his face, 
reiything. Thomas gets quite I don't 
tiow ; and he says, ' I wonder if I look 
oed?' And he goes to the glass, and 
ler appears at the same time, and it 
ike the reflection in the glass. 'I've had 
fools imagine it was the reflection. 
18 says ' Oh, I look very nice ! ' and as 
eaks the other opens his mouth too. 
rhomas says, * Why I've got some black 
nose ! ' and he goes to wipe it, and the 
ehind imitates him. 

» then goes down the stage and returns 
!8 again. There's a deal of business 
Ion. At last Thomas sees the figure 
jimd whilst he's looking in front, and 
e exclaims, * That's not me ! My waist- 
in't split up the back ! I'll smash the 

He knocks down the gauze, and out 
he figure, yelling ' Ah ! I'm the glass 

Thomas falls down on the stage, and 

1 imp walks about, one off the side at 
ing thumps the ground at each step 
piece of wood, to mark the steps. Then 
irvant says, ' Fe fi fo fum, I smell the 
of an Englishman;' and Thomas an- 
' Oh no, Mr. Ghost, I sdn't an English. 

rm a Irish woman ;' and there's a shout 
t, of course. The servant continues,— 



' Let him be alive, let him be dead,' — and 
Thomas says ' I'm as dead as a red herring ! ' 
and there's another shout The fellow-servant 
then catches hold of Thomas by the hair of 
the head, and tells him to follow him below. 
Thomas replies * Oh dont .' please, don't, Mr. 
Ghost ! I'll do anything but foUow you be- 
low, though you are so good-looldng.' ' Will 
you promise to come home early for the future?' 

* I will.' ' And never drink no more brandy 
nor stout?' *I will.' The fellow-servant 
shouts in a hoarse voice, ' Nay, Slave ! not I 
will, but I will not.' • Not' * Enough ! rise 
and look at me.' ' Oh, I wouldn't for the 
world.* • Don't you know me ? ' * Oh no ! no ! 
no ! I never saw you before.' ' It's all right, 
I'm your friend James : your fellow-servant ! ' 
Then Thomas gets up and sees him, and be- 
gins laughing. ' Oh, I wasn't frightened : I 
knew you all the time. ' The other cove then 
shouts, * Fe fi fo film ;' and down goes Thomas 
on his face and screams *■ Murder! murder ! * 
Then James says, * Oh, it's only me; look!' 
Then Thomas looks and says, * Well, I declare 
I thought you was the glass imp.' * No, I 
only played this prank to reclaim you. Has 
it had its effect?' ' It has.' ' Then I have 
gained my end, since you are reformed ; and 
I hope you are reformed.' * I am ; and I hope 
it will be a lesson to my friends in front, and 
that they will never take a drop too much.' 
Then they sing together — 

'Trotiblas all, sreat and small, 

You must think not of the past ; 
For life is short, and mirth and sport 
Cannot ever last 
Cannot over last 
Cannot over last.' 

*< That pantomimic farce always goes down 
with wonderfiil success. It has a regular 
round of applause, which is everybody dap- 
ping as hard as they can. Some of the tavern- 
keepers, in whose concert-rooms we done this 
ballet pantomime, don't much like the wind-up 
to this piece, — about hoping our friends wiU 
take a lesson, and not drink too much. At 
one place the landlord happened to come just 
as that line was spoke, and he told me he'd fine 
me sixpence if I done it again. ' Why, I ain't 
sold a dozen pots of beer through it,' he says. 
So I agreed with him to alter the tag to this,— 

* and not drink no more than you can carry, 
for that never did any one any harm, but 
more is injurious. ' At some of these rooms, 
if a song is going too long and no drinking, 
the landlord will come in, and hold his 
hand up, as a cue for us to leave off and let 
the drinking begin again. Then the waiters 
looks the audience up again with their * Give 
your orders, gentlemen ; give your orders.' 

'* This bcdlet pantomime was quite an inno- 
vation, and isn't strictly ballet, but in the same 
line. 

*< Of all ballets, the one that has found the 
longest ran is the * Statue Blanche.' I've 



148 



LONDON LABOUR ASD THE LONDON POOB. 



known it to go a month. All the young ladie^* 
in those pifcos ore repular ballet-girls, rtiul all 
* tunitnl out;' thnt is, taught to stand with 
their dancing position. You know all of iheiu 
is HujiiKwed to be uhlc tft kick thoir nose 
with thfir knees. You know they crick them 
when young, the sanio as a contortionist or 
arobat. They are always practiKing. You 
see them in the green-room kicking their legs 
about. The men have to do the Kanie, except 
the comic characters tliat don't dance. I'aul 
Herring is very clever at these things, and 
don't wiuit no pnustising. He can scruteli his 
head with his foot. He's the finest clown Uiat 
ever trod in shoe-leather. 

" The green-rooms at the concert-rooms are 
very tidy. Even at the ])enny gaffh the men 
and women have separate rooms. Tlu? women 
there have got their decency the same as at u 
theatre, and tliey wouldn't go there if there 
wasn't separate dressing-rooms. In fact, they 
keep themselves more from tlte mtm than the 
men fh>m them, for they are all mailames ; and 
tliough they only keep a wheelbarrow, they 
carr>' themselves as if they had a coach. 

*^ At the concert-rooms they have always 
a useful set of scenery, about similar to tliat 
at the penny gafifs. At some of them you don't 
get so good scenery as at the gafis. There's in 
general a romantic scene, and a cottage, and 
BO forth, and that's all that's wanted. There's 
a regular proscenium to the theatres, with 
lights in front and all. The most usual man- 
ner is to have a couple of fi(;ures at the sides 
holding lights, and curtains behind them, l>e- 
cause it answers for the ballets and also for 
the singinj:. At some of the conc«'rt-rooms 
there's no side-entrance to the st.ii^e, and then 
you have to go across the auilience dress<>d in 
your costume, befon.>y< mean get on to tlie stage. 
It's horrid, that is. I've done it many and many 
a time at KiiiKhtsbridgc. It's verj- l)ud,for every- 
thing depends upon being discovered when tlie 
curtain (Iraws up. Some of the p»?ople will say, 
* Oh, tliat's nothing ; I've seen him liefore.' 

*' I hare repeat^y seem people in front go 
to the stage and offer their glass to tlio actor 
to drink. We arc forbid to reuoive them, be- 
cause it interferes with business ; but we do 
take it. 1*^-0 seen drink handed on to tlie 
stage from three to four times a-night 

" Sometimes, when a dance has pleased the 
audience, or an acrobat, or a bottle equilibrist, 
they'll throw halfpence on to the stage, to 
reward tlie performer. We sometimes do this 
for one another, so as to give the collection a 
start. We are forbidden to take money when 
it is thrown on to us, but wo do. If a skpence 
comes, we in general clap our foot on to it, 
and then your mate gives you a rap on the 
face, and we tumble down and put it in our 
mouth, 80 that the proprietor shan't see us. 
If be saw it done, and he could find it, he'd 
take it away if he could. I have known a man 
pick up as much as Sf. after a dance. Then 
thare are gananQj some one who is not en- 



gaged on the establishment, sod he comes for 

what we term * tlie nobbings,' that's what ii 
throw'd to him. I've known a clog-dancer, d \ 
the name of Thompson, to earn as much m ! 
IOj. of a night at tJie various oonoeTt-rooms. \ 
lie's ver}' clever, and mi^r be seen any nightat j 
the Hoop and Grapes, BatcliSe-highway. Ha 
does 10» different steps, and 51 of them as ' 
on his toes. | 

" There's in general firom five to six peopb i 
engaged in a concart-room performances, mI | 
for professionals alone that'll come to fron i 
;10<. to 2/. a-night for expenses for acton sai 
singers. That's putting down nothing for ths 
conductor, or musicians, or gas. Someofthim 
charge 2<<. or \d, admission, but then theirt I 
something extra put on to the drink. Portff ^ 
is bd. a pot, and fourpenny ale is chaiged 6^ ' 
besides, you can't have less than (id, worUicf '■ 
gin-aiid-watcr. At such a room as the Nig^ : 
Head in Oxford-street, IVe known as maqyjs 
from '.iUU to .300 go there in the evening; sal 
the Standard, Pimlico, will hold from 400 to 
450 people, and I've seen that frill for niglill 
together. There they only have menuy a 
platform, and seldom do ballets, or GnciB 
statues, dancing, gymnastics, and various otkff 
entertainments, such as ventriloquism. ThflB 
the admission is 4(/., and on benefit ooflt- 
sions Gcj.' 

The TiOHT-Bopc Dikcebb axd Snu- 

YAUxaxuu 

" I AM the father of two little girls who per- 
form on the tight-rope and on siUts. Myirifo 
also performs, so that tlic family by itadf sai 
give an entertaiimient that lasts an hoar snd a 
half altogether. I dtm't .pcrfoim myselC bit I 
go about making the arrangements nod engs^a- 
monte for thenu Managers write to mefinft 
the country to get up entertainments ficv th«b 
and to imdertske tlie speculatLon at ao moik 
Indeed I am a manager. I hixe a ph^s of 
amusement, and hire it at so much; crif thcf 
wont let it, then I take an .engagement fir 
tlie family. I never fancied any profossicmsl 
work myself, except, x>criiiV8» a kot cf sonlf- 
turc. I am rather pakial to the .poses pltf- 
tiques, but that's all. 

" Iloth my little girls are under eight yssn 
of age, and they do the still- waltzing, and tkt 
eldest does tlie ti^ht-roxie business oa <mIL 
Their motlier is a tight-rope danoer, and dosi 
the same business as Madame fiayin nssd to 
appear in, such as the ascension on the rofs 
in the midst of fireworks. We had man a 
England who had done the ascension beCois 
Madame Saj'in came out atVaoxhall, bat I 
think she was the first woman that ever did 
it in tills country. I remember her walL 
She lodged at a relation of mine during btf 
engagement at tlie Cxardens. She was « u^ 
litUo woman, very diminutive, and trsmsD- 
dously pitted with the small-pox. She «M 
what may be oalled a hon^ woman, very toufh 
and bo^y. IVe heard my father and motfMT 



LONDON ZABOUB AND THE LONDON POOR. 



148 



liad 5MML a-nig^ at Ysnxfa&ll, and 

it three times a-week; but I can't 
V this, as it was only hearsay, 
ildest little girl &:st began doing the 

public when she was thrco-and a-half 
i. I don't suppose she was much more 
>-and-a-ha]f years old when I first put 
the stilts. They were particularly 
as about four foot from the grotmd, so 

came to about as high as my arms. 
he funniest thing in the world to see 
le hadn't got sufficient strength in her 
3 keep her legs stiff, and she used to 
about just hke a fellow drunk, and 
i use of bis limbs. The object of 
ig so soon was to accustom it, and she 
y on for a few minutes once or twice 
She liked this veiy mrach, in fact so 
bat the other little ones used to cry 
Ees because I wouldn't let them haye 
t them. I used to make my girl do 
like a bit of fun. She'd be laughing 
ick her sides, and we'd be laughing to 

little legs bending about. I had a 
!88 made for her, with a spangled 
md gauze skirt, and she always put 

when she was practising, and that 
induce her to the exercise. She was 
as Punch when she had her fine 
on. When she wasn't good, I'd say 

•Very well, miss, since you're so 
, you shan't go out with us to perform ; 
(ji your little sister, and take her with 

leave you at home.' That used to 
*r in a moment, for she didn't like the 
laving the other one take her place, 
a i>eople, when they teach then: chil- 
' any entertainment, torture the little 
DOBt dreadftiL There is a great deal 
rity xn^actiBed in teaching children for 
ons lines. It's yory silly, because it 
^tens the little things, and some chil- 
;en will do much more by kindness 
osage. Now there are several children 
aow of that have been severely iivjured 
eing trained for the Risley business. 
ess your soul, a little thing coming 

it's head, is done for the remainder 
ife. Tve seen tlicra crying on the 
loblidy, from being sworn at and 
where they would have gone to it 
% if they had only been coaxed and 
3d. 

' my little things took to h almost 
y. It was bred and bom in them, for 
jeac was in the profession before me, 
wife's parents were also perform(»rs. 
I both my little girls on the stilts 
ley were three years old. It's astonish- 
soon tlie leg gets accustomed to the 
ir in less than three months they 
c alone. Of course, for the first six 
lat they are put on we never leave go 
hands. The knees, which at first is 
id wabbly, gets strong, and when onco 
osed to the pad and stump (for the 



stilts are fastened on to Just where the garter 
woiUdoome), then the child is all right. It 
does not enlarge the knee at all, and instead 
of CTOOoking the leg, it acts in a similar way 
to what wu see in a child bom with the 
cricks, with irons on. I should say, that if any 
of my children have been bom knock-kneed, 
or bow-legged, the stilts have been the means 
of making their legs straight. It docs not 
fatigue their ankles at oU, but tlie principal 
strain is on the hollow in the palm of the 
foot, where it fits into the tread of the still, 
for that's the thing that bears the whole 
weight. If you keep a chfld on too long, it 
will complain of pain there ; but mine were 
never on for more than twenty minutes at a 
time, and that's not long enough to tire the 
foot. But one gets over this feeling. 

"I've had my young ones on the stilts 
amusing themselves in my back-yard for a 
whole afternoon. TheyH have them on and 
off three or four times in a hour, for it don't 
take a minute or two to put them on. They 
would put them on for play. I've often had 
them asking me to let them stop away from 
school, so as to have them on. 

•• My wife is very clever on the stilts. She 
does the routine of militaiy exercise with 
them on. It's the gun exercise. She takes 
one stilt off herself, and remains on the other, 
and then shoulders the stilt she has taken ofl^ 
and ihows the gun practice. She's the only 
female stilt^ancer in England now. Those 
that were with her when she was a girl are aU 
old women now. AIL of my family waltz and 
polka on stilts, and play tamborines whilst 
they dance. The little girls dance with their 
mother. 

*• It took longer to teach the children to do 
the tight-rope. They were five years old 
before I first began to teach them. The first 
thing I taught them to walk upon was on a 
pole passed tlirough the rails at the back of 
two chairs. When you're teaching a child, 
you have not got time to go driving stakes into 
the ground to fix a rope upon. My pole waa 
a bit of one of my wife's broken balance- 
poles. It was as thick as a broom handle, 
and not much longer. I had to lay hold of 
the little things' hands at first Tliey had no 
balance-pole to hold, not for some months 
afterwards. My young ones liked it very 
much ; I don't know how other persons may. 
It was bred in them. They conldnt stand 
even upright when first they tried it, but after 
three months they could just walk across it 
by themselves. I exercised them onco eveiy 
day, for I had other business to attend to, 
and I'd give them a lesson for just, perhaps, 
half on hour at dinner time, or of an evening 
a bit after I came home. My vrife never 
would teach them herself. I taught my wife 
rope-dancing, and yet I could not do it; but I 
understood it by theory, though not by e^ 
perience. I never chalked my j'oong tmef 
feet, but I put them on a little pair of camraa 



150 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



pnmps, to get the feet properly formed to | we took somewhere aboat 25s. a^ay. When 
grasp the rope, and to bend round. My wife's j it isn't too far from London, we generally 



feet, when she is on the rope, bend round 
from continual use, so that they form a hollow 
in the palm of the foot, or the waist of the 
foot as some call it. My girls' feet soon took 
the form. The foot is a little bit tender at 
first, not to the pole, because that is round 
and smooth, but the strands of the rope 
would, until the person has had some prac- 
tice, blister the foot if kept too long on it. I 
never kept my young ones on the pole more 
than twenty minutes at a time, for it tired me 
more than them, and my arms used to ache with 
supporting them. Just when they got into 
the knack and habit of walking on the pole, 
tlicn I shifted them to a rope, which I fixed 
up in my bnck-yard. The rope has to be a 
good cable size, about one-and-a-half inches in 
diameter. I always chalked the rope ; chalk 
is of a very rough nature, and prevents slip- 
ping. The sole of the pump is always more or 
less hard and greasy. We don't rough tho 
Boles of the pumps, for the rope itself will 
soon make them rough, no matter how bright 
they may have been. My rope was three feet 
six inches from the ground, which was a com- 
fortable height for me to go alongside of Uie 
children. I didn't give them me balance- 
pole tiU they were pretty perfect without it. 
It is a great help, is the pole. The one my 
wife takes on the rope with her is eightL*en 
ffet long. Some of the poles are weighted at 
both ends, but ours are not. My young ones 
were able to dance on the rope in a twelve- 
montli's time. They wem't a bit nervous when 
I liighered the rope in my yard. I was 
underneath to catch tliem. They seemed to 
like it 

" They appeared in public on the tightrope 
in less than a twelvemonth from their first 
lesson on the bmom-stick on the backs of the 
diairs. My girl hod done the stilts in public 
when she was only three years and six months 
old, so she was accustomed to an audience. 
It was in a gardens she made her first per- 
formance on the rope, and I was under her 
in case she fell. I always do that to this 
doy. 

•* ^Miencver I go to fairs to fulfil engage- 
ments, I always take all my own apparatus 
with me. There is tlie rope some twenty 
yards long, and then there's the pulley-bloi'ks 
for tigh twining it, and the cross-poles for fixing 
it up, and the balance-poles. I'm obliged to 
have a cart to take them along. I always 
make engagements, and never go in shares, 
for I don't like that game. I could have lots 
of jobs at that game if I liked. There's no 
hold on the proprietor of the show. There's a 
share taken for this, and a share for this, so 
that before the company come to touch juiy 
money, twenty shares are gone out of thirty, 
and only ten left for the i>erformcrs. I have 
had a pouii«l a-day for myself and family at a 
fair. At the last one I went to, a week ago, 



come home at night, but otherwise we go to a 
tavern, and put up there. 

*' I only go to circuses when we are at fairs. 
I never had a booth of my own. The young 
ones and my wife walk about tln^ patiide to 
make a show of the entire company, but 
unless business is very ba^l, and a draw is 
wanted, my little ones don't appear on the 
stilts. They have done so, of course, but I 
don't like them to do so, unless as a fa^-our. 

*' In tlie ring, their general performance it 
the rope one time, and then reverse it and do 
the stilts. My wife and the girls all have 
their turns at the rope, following each other 
in their performances. The band generally 

Slays quadrilles, or a waltz, or aoyUiing ; it 
on't matter what it is, so long as ii is the 
proper time. They dance and do the gpiingi 
in the air, and they also perform with chairs, 
seating themselves on it whilst on tlie nme, 
and also standing up on the chair. They aLo 
have a pair of ladders, and mount them. 
Then again they dance in fetters. I am tliere 
underneath, in evening costume, looking after 
them. They generally wind up their tight- 
rope performance by flinging away the balance- 
pole, and dancing without it to quick mea- 
sure. 

" One of my little girls slipped off once, but 
I caught her directly as she came down, uid 
she wasn't in the least frightened, and went 
on again. I put her down, and she cuitBied, 
and ran up again. Did she scream? Of 
course not. You can't help having a slip off 
occasionally. 

"When they do the stilts, the yomig 
ones only dance waltzes and x>olkas. and so 
on. They have to use their hands for doisff 
the graccfrd attitudes. My wife, as I said 
before, does the gun exercise besides dancing, 
and it's olwajrs very sucocssfhl with the andlh 
ence, and g«>es down tremendously. The per- 
formances of the three takes about twenty 
minutes, I think, for I never timed it exactly. 
I've been at some fairs when we have done our 
performances eighteen times a-day, andTve 
been at some where I've only done it four or 
six, for it always depends upon what business 
is being done. That's tlie truth. TMien the 
booth is full, Ujien the inside performance 
begins, and until it is, the parade work is 
done. There are generally persons engaged 
expressly to do the parade business. 

" I never knew my girls catch cold at a fajr. 
for they are generally held in hot weather, and 
the heat is rather more com]>]ained of than 
the cold. My young ones put on three or 
four different dresses during a fair — at least 
mine do. I dont know what others do. Each 
dress is a different colour. There is a regular 
dressing-room for the ladies under the parade 
carriages, and tlieir mother attends to them. 

" Very often after tlicir performances tliey 
get fruit and money thrown to tlieiu into the 



JiQrKDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON JPOOR, 



151 



ring. I've Ittown semen or eight ehillings 
to be thrown to them in eoppers and silver, 
but it's seldom they get more than a shilling 
or so. I've known ladies and gentlemen wait 
for ihem when they went to uko ofif their 
dresses after they have done, and give them 
live or six shillings. 

•* When we go to fairs, I always pack the 
joimg ones off to bed about nine, and never 
ktar than ten. They don't seem tired, and 
would like to stop up all niglit, I sliould 
think. I don't know how it is with other 
kids. 

**! send my young ones to school every 
d^y when there is no business on, and they 
IR getting on well with their schooling. When 
ire go to a countxy engagement, then I send 
thdm to a school in the town if we stop any 
tims. 

** Ours is, I think, the only family doing the 
iqie-dancing and stHt-vaulting. I don't know 
of sny others, nor yet of any other children 
Jtall whodoiL 

"Stilt-vaulting is dying out You never 
see any children going about the streets as 
jOQ did fazmezly. There never was so much 
fflooey got as at that stilt-vaulting in the 
tteets. My wife's family, when she was young, 
thoQ^ nothing of going out of an aftconoon, 
ififlr dinner, and tflJcing their three or four 
ponnds. They used to be as tall up as the 
tintfloor windows of some of the houses. It 
mvt be very nearly twenty years since I re- 
member the last that appeared. It isn't that 
tbe police would stop it, but there's nobody 
to do it It's a veiy <liffirnlt thing to do, is 
vilkiog about at that tremendous height. If 
TOO fUil you're done for. One of my little 
ones fell once — it was on some grass, I think 
«*bnt she escaped without nny hurt, for she 
'Wis light, and gathered herself up in a heap 
somehow. 

** There used to be a celebrated Jellini 
&mily, with a similar entertainment to what I 
give. They were at the theatres mostly, and 
It pnbUc gardens, and so on. They used to 
do ballets on stilts, and had great success. 
That must be forty years ago. There used to 
be the Chaflb family too, who went about the 
itRets on stilts. They had music with them, 
ttd danced in the public thoroughfares. Now 
thsK is nothing of the kind going on, and it's 
out of date. 

** I have been abroad, in Holland, travelling 
^h a circus company. I've also visited 
Belgium. The children and my -wife were 
very much liked wherever they went. I was 
on an engagement then, and we had 11/. a- 
week, and I was with them seven weeks. 
They paid our travelling expenses there, and 
ve paid them iiome." 

'SnuBET Bbciteb. 

Sheet reeitera era somewhat sooroe now*A- 
^7s,and I was along time before meeting with 



one.; for though I could always trace them 
through thoir wanderings about the streets, 
and learn where they had been seen the night 
before, still I could never find one myselL I 
believe there are not more than ten lads in 
London, — for they seem to be all lads, — ^^ho 
are earning a livelihood by street-reciting. 

At length I heard that some street actors, ns 
they call themselves, lived in a court in tho 
Oity. There were two of them— one a lad, who 
was dressed in a man's ragged coat and burst 
boots, and tucked-up trowsers, and seemingly 
in a state of great want; and the other decently 
enough attired in a black paletot with a 
flash white-and-red handkerchief, or "foglo," 
as the costermongers call it, jauntily arranged 
so as to bulge over the dosely-huttoned collar 
of his coat There was a priggish look about 
the latter lad, while his manner was '* 'cute," 
and smacked of Pettiooat-lane ; and though 
the other one seemed to slink bock, he pushed 
himself saucily forward, and at once informed 
me that he belonged " to the profession " of 
street dedaimer. " I and this other boy goes 
out together," he said, as he took a short pipe 
firom his mouth ; and in proof of his assertion, 
he volunteered that they should on the spot 
give me a specimen of their histrionic powers. 

I preferred listening to the modest boy. Ho 
was an extremely good-looking lad, and spoke 
in a soft voice, ^most like a girl's. He had a 
bright, cheerful face, and a skin so transparent 
and healthy, and altogether appeored so dif- 
ferent from the generality of street lads, that 
I felt convinced that he had not long led a 
wandering life, and that there was some m3rB- 
tery connected with his jnesent pursuits. He 
blushed when spoken to, and -his answers were 
nervously civil. 

When I had the bcttcr-natured boy alone 
with mo, I found tliat he had been weU 
educated ; and his statement will show that he 
was bom of respectable parents, and the reason 
why he took to his present course of life. At 
first he seemed to be nervous, and little in- 
clined to talk; but as we became better 
acquainted, he chatted on even faster than my 
.pen could follow. He had picked up severol of 
the set phrases of theatrical parlance, such as, 
" But my dream has vanished in -air ;" or, " I 
felt that a blight was on my happiness ;" and 
delivered his words in a romantic tone, as 
though he fancied he was acting on a stage. 
He volunteered to show mo his declamatory 
powers, and selected " Othello's Ap<dogy." Ho 
went to the back of -the room, and after throw* 
ing his arms about him for a few seconda, and 
looking at the oeiling as if to inspire hims el f, 
he started oft 

Whilst he had been chatting to us Ins voice 
was — as I said l>ofare-^like a girl's ; but no 
sooner -did he deliver his, " Most potent, grave, 
and revenoadSignion,*' than I was surprised t» 
hear htm aMume a deep stomachic voie o a 
■tylfrevideotly founded upon the melo-dramatie 
at minor theatres. His good linking 



109 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOS. 



face, however, became flushed and excited 
during the delivexy of the speech, his eyes 
rolled about, and he passed his hands through 
his hair, combing it with his fingers till it fell 
wildly about his neck like a mane. 

When he had finished the speech he again 
relapsed into his quiet ways, and resuming his 
former tone of voice, seemed to think that an 
apology was requisite for the wildness of his 
acting, for he said, " When I act Shakspeare 
I cannot restrain myself, — it seems to master 
my veiy souL" 

He had some little talent as an actor, but 
was possessed of more memory than know- 
ledge of the use of words. Like other per- 
formers, ho endeavoured to make his *' points'* 
by dropping his voice to almost a whisper when 
he came to the passage, " I' faith 'twas strange, 
'twas passing strange." 

In answer to my questions he gave me the 
following statement : — 

** 1 am a street reciter, that is, I go about the 
streets and play Shakspeare's tragedies, and 
selections from poets. The boys in the streets 
call mo Shakspeare. The first time they 
called me so I smiled at them, and was 
honoured by the name, though it's only pass- 
ing I it's only fleet ! 

** I was bom in Dublin, and my father was 
in the army, and my mother was a lady's nurse 
and midwife, and used to go out on urgent 
business, but only to ladies of the higher 
classes. My mother died in Dublin, and my 
father left the army and became a turnkey in 
Dublin prison. Father left Dublin when I 
was about ten years of age, and went to Man- 
chester. Then I went into an office — a her- 
ring-store, which had agents at Yarmouth and 
other fishing-ports ; and there I had to do 
writing. Summer-time was our busiest time, 
for we used to have to sit up at night waiting 
for the trains to come in with the fish. I used 
to get Sd, an hour for every hour we worked 
over, and Od. in the morning for coff'ee, and 
8«. Od. standing wages, whether I worked or 
played. I know all about herrings and her- 
ring-packing, for I was two years there, and 
the master was like a father to me, and would 
give mo money many times, Christmas-boxes, 
and new-years' gifts, and such-like. I might 
have been there now, and foreman by this 
time, in the Isle of Man, where we had a house, 
only 1 was too foolish — going to theatres and 
such-like. 

'* You see, I used, before I went out as clerk, 
to go to a school in Manchester, where the 
master taught recitation. We used to speak 
pieces firom Uwin's * Elocution,' and we had to 
get A piece off to elocution, and attitude, and 
position ; indeed, elocution may be said to be 
position and attitude. We used to do * The 
DownfaJl of Poland,' and * Lord UUen's Daugh- 
ter,' and * My name is Norval,' and several 
other»-^ Holla,' and all them. Then we used 
to spetk them one at a time, and occasionally 
we would take different parts, such as the 



< Quarrel of Brutus,' and ' Caaaiai,' and * BoDa,' 
and the * American Patriot,' and such-l&e. I 
will not boast of myself, but I was one of the 
best in the class, though since I have gone 
out in the streets it has spoiled my voice and 
my inclinations, for the people likes shouting. 
I have had as many as 000 persons round me 
in the Walworth-road at one time, and we 
got 4«. between us ; and then we lost several 
half^nce, for it was night, and we could not 
see the money that was thix>wn into the rinjt. 
We did the * Gipsy's Bevenge,' and * Othello's 
Apology.' 

** Whilst I was at tlie herxing-stores I used 
to be very fond of the tlicatre, and I'd go there 
every night if I could, and I did nearly manage 
to be there every evening. I'd save up my 
money, and if I'd none I'd go to my master 
and ask him to let me have a few halfpence; 
and I've even wanted to go to the play so 
much that, when I couldn't get any money, 
I'd sell my clothes to go. Master used to cau- 
tion me, and say that the theatre would ruin 
me, and I'm sure it has. When my master 
would tell me to stop and do the books, I'd 
only jiist run tliem over at night and cast 
them up as quickly as I could, and then I'd 
run out and go to the twopenny theatre on the 
Victoria -bridge, Manchester. Sometimes I 
used to ]>erform there for Mr. Bow, who was 
the proprietor. It was what is called a travel- 
ling * slang,' a booth erected temporarily. I 
did William Tell's son, and Tvc also done the 
* Bloody Child' in Macbeth, and go on with the 
witches. It was a very little stage, but with 
very nice scenery, and shift-scenes and all, the 
same as any other theatre. On a Saturday 
night he used to have as many as six houses ; 
start off at three o'clock, after the factory 
hands had been paid off. I never had any 
money for acting, for though he offered m* 
half-a-sovereign a-week to come and take a 
part, yet I wouldn't accept of it, for I only did 
It for my own amusement like. They used to 
call me King Dick. 

** My master knew I went to the theatre to 
act, for he sent one of the boys to follow me» 
and he went in front and saw me acting in 
Macbeth, and he went and told master, be- 
cause, just as the second act was over, he came 
right behind the scenes and ordered me out, 
and told me I'd have to get ouodicr situation 
if I went there any more. He took me home 
and finished tlie books, and the noxt morning 
I told him I'd leave, for I felt as if it was my 
sole ambition to get on to the stage, or even 
put my foot on it : I was so enamoured of it 
And it is the same now, for I'd do onj-tbing to 
get engaged — it's as if a spell was on me. 
Just before I left he besought me to remain 
with him, and said that I was a usefbl hand 
to him, and a good boy when I liked, and that 
ho wanted to make a'gentleman of me. He 
was so fond of me that he often gave me 
money himself to go to a theatre ; but he aaid 
too much of it was bad. 



LONJKON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



153 



[ left hkt I want with mother boy 
ea. I forgot all about the theatre, 
ated my feelings when I left him, 
led I had been back, for I'd been 
eighteen months, and he'd been like 
) me ; but I was too ashamed to see 
. This boy and me started for Scar- 
ind he had no money, and I had 0«., 
U between ns ; but I had a black snit 

cost 21, lOt^ which xoy master had 
a present of^ for excelling the fore- 
along up the books — for the foreman 
ands of herrings (five herrings make 
bort in one week ; and then I took 

the next week, and I was only four 
iiort, and master was so pleased that 
ed upon me a present ox a new suit 

ted with my companion for this 
One day, after we had been walking, 
) hungry we could eat anything, and 
1 accustomed to never being hungry, 
\ was very much exhausted from 
)r we had walked thirty miles that 
eating one piece of bread, which I 
olUic-house where I gave a recitation, 
to a farm-house at a place called 
niton, in Yorkshire, and he went 
door to beg for something to eat. 
I a young lady came out and talked 
id gave him some bread, and then 
le and had compassion on me, be- 
oked resi>ectable and was so miser- 
) told her we were cousins, and had 
bihers and mothers (for we didnt 
r we had left our masters), and she 
IT boys ! your parents will be fretting 
; I'd go back, if I was you.' She 
a large bit of bread, and then she 
L hig bit of cold plum-pudding. My 
1 wanted half my pudding besides his 
ly and I preferred to give him part 
iding and not have any bread ; but 
1% and struck out at me. I returned 
len we fought, and an old woman 
with a stick and beat us both, and 
ere incorrigible young beggars, and 
e very hungry or we shouldn't fight 
Then I parted from my com- 
id he took the direct road to Scar, 
and I went to York. I saw him 
I when I returned to Manchester, 
ir left him 200/., and he's doing 
in a good situation in a commercial 

bound for six years to sea to a ship- 
Scarborough, but the mate behaved 

to me and used mo brutally. I 
ise the ropes as well as he thought I 
though I learned the compass and 
>pes very soon. The captain was a 

man, but I daren't tell him for fear 
ite. He used to beat me with the 
1 — sometimes the lead-rope — that 
isual weapon, and he used to leave 
me. I took the part of Hamlet, and. 



instead of complaining, I thought of that part 
where he says, 

' And makes ua rather bear thoae ilia we have. 
Than fly to others that we know not oL* 

That's the best play of Shaksi>eare ; he out- 
docs himself there. 

" When the brig got to Scheidam, in Hol- 
land, five miles off Botterdam, I ran away. 
The vessel was a collier, and whilst they were 
doing the one, two, three, and pulling up the 
coals, I slipped over the side and got to shore. 
I waUced to Botterdam, and there I met an 
Irish sailor and told him aJl, and he told me 
to apply to the British Consul and say that I 
had been left ashore by a Dutch galliot, which 
find sailed the day before for Jersey. The 
Consul put me in a boarding-house — a splen- 
did place, with servants to wait on you, where 
they gave me everything, cigars and all, for 
everybody smokes there — little boys scarce 
higher than the table— and cigars are only a 
cent each — and five cents make a penny. I was 
like a gentleman then, and then they put me 
in the screw steamer, ^e ]^ell, and sent me 
back to Hull. 

'* When I got to Manchester again, I went 
in my sailor-clothes to see my old master. He 
was very glad to see me, and asked me if I 
wanted anything to eat, and sent out for ale 
for me, and was so glad to see me that he gave 
me money. He took me back again at higher 
wages, lOt.— which was 1«. %d, over — and I 
stopped there eight months, until they wrote 
to me firom Dublin that father was vezy ill, 
and that I was to come over directly. So I 
went, and was by him when he died. He was 
sixty-two years of age, and left 400/. to my 
sister, which she is to have when she comes 
of age. He quarrelled with me because he 
was a Catholic, and I didn't follow that per- 
suasion, and he disowned me ; but, just before 
he died, he blessed me, and looked as if he 
wanted to say something to me, but he couldn't, 
for the breath was leaving him. 

'* When I returned to Manchester I found 
my master had taken another servant, as he 
expected I should stop in Dublin, and there 
was no vacancy ; but he recommended me to 
another merchant, and there I was put in the 
yard to work among the herrings, as he didn't 
know my capabilities ; but, in a short time I 
was put in the shop as boy, and then I was 
very much in favour with the master and the 
missus, and the son, and he used to bring me 
to concerts and balls, and was very partial to 
me ; and I used to eat and drink with them at 
their own table. I've been foolish, and never 
a friend to myself, for I ran away from thenu 
A lad told me that London was such a fins 
place, and induced me to sell my clothes and 
take the train ; and here I've been for about 
eight months knocking about. 

'* As long as my money lasted I used to go 
to the theatre every night— to the Standaid, 



154 



LOIfDOir LABOUR ANlf^ THE LONDON POOR. 



and the Citj-road, and tiie Britennia; but 
vhen it was gone I looked then to see what I 
mi^bt do. At first I tried for a situation, bat 
they wouldn't take me, because I eouldn't get 
a recommendation in London. Then I formed 
a resolution of giving recitations fh)m Shak- 
Fpeare and tiiie other poets in public-hoUBes, 
and getting a liWng that wa7. 

•* I bad learned a good deal- of Shakapeare 
at school ; and besides, when I was with my 
master I bad often bought penny oojpies oif 
Shakspeore, and I used to study it in the 
office, biding it under the book I was writing 
in ; and, when nobody was looking, studying 
the speeches. I used to go and recite before 
the men in the yard, and they^ liked it. 

^ The first night I went out I earned 4«., 
and that was a great cheer to my spirits. It 
was at a public-house in Fashion -street. I went 
into the tap-room and asked the gentlemen 
if tliey would wish to hear a rcoitntion from 
Shnkspeare, and they said, ♦Pixineod.* The 
first part I gave tliem was firvtm Ilichard the 
Thinl : • Now is the winter of our discontent;* 
and then they clapped me and made me do it 
over again. Tlien I iwrformed Hamlet's ' So- 
liloquy on the Immortality of the Soul,* and 
they threw down 25. in coppers, and one gen- 
tleman gave me sixpence. 

** I've continued giving recitations from 
Shakspcare and selections from tho poots ever 
since, and done very well, until I became 
ill with a cold, which maile my voice bod, so 
that I was unablo to speak. Fve been ill now 
a fortnight, and I went out lost night for the 
first time, along with another young fellow 
who recites, and we got 1*. Orf. between us in 
the • Gipsy's Revenge.* Wn m-ent to a public- 
house where they were having * a lead,' that is 
a collection for a friend who is ill, and the 
company throw down what they con for a sub- 
srription, and they have in a fiddle and mnke 
it socioL But it was not a good * lead,' and 
poorly attended, so we did not make much 
out of the company. 

" When I go out to recite, I generally go 
with another boy, and we take parts. The 
pieces that draw best with the public are,* The 
Gipsy's Revenge,* *The Gold Digger's Re- 
venge,' * Tlie Miser,' * The Robber,' * The Felon,' 
and *The Highwayman.' We take parts in 
these, and he always performs the villain, and 
I take the noble characters. He always dies, 
because he can do a splendid back-fall, and 
he looks so wicketl when he's got the mous- 
taches on. I generally draws the company 
by giWng two or three recitations, and then 
we perform a piece ; and whilst he goes round 
with the hat, I recite again. MV favourite 
recitations are, ' Othello's Apology,' beginning 
with * Most potent, grave, and reverend Sig- 
niors,' and those from Hamlet, Richard III., 
and Macbeth. Of the recitations I think the 
people prefer that from Othello, for the ladies 
have often asked me to give them that ffrom 
Othello (they like to htar about Desdemona), 



but the gentlemeo «k fbr Act ftom Haaite^ 

•To be, or not to be?' 

** My principal plaoe fbr giving porfomianow 
is the Commeroial-TOftd, nearlanehonfie, bofr 
the most theatrieally inclined neigfabimrliooA; 
is the Walworth .road. The most money^I-efur 
took at one time in the stxeeti was 4* in tl» 
Widworth-road. 

" The best receipts I oforHad mm got mm 
pablic-houae near Briek-llme, fbr I took 1^ 
and I was alone. There was a * lead^ up tkw 
for a friend, and I knew of it, md I had mf 
hair curled and got myself decently habkadl^ 
I was there for about three orftmr houn, mk 
in the intervals between the dances Tiised W 
recite. There were girls there, and they toak. 
my part, though they made me diink so mvdl 
I was nearly tipsy. 

** The only theatrical costume I put on is 
moustachios, and I take a stick to use as a 
sword. I put myself into attitudes, and look 
as fierce as I can. When first the peeple- 
came to hear me they laughed, and then thcj 
became quiet ; and sometimes you oould bfl«- 
a pin drop. 

" When I am at work rcgolaiiy — that's wheft 
I am in voice and will — I make about l<k 
a-wcek, if there's not much rain. If it's wH^ 
people don't go to the public-houses, and they 
arc my best paj-ing audiences. The least I 
have ever taken in a week is about 6f. 

'•There isn't many going about Londoa 
reciting. It is a voiy rare class to be iboid; 
I only know about four who live that way, woA 
I have heard of the others from hearsay— not 
that I have seen them myself. 

** I'm very fond of music, and know most of 
the opera. Thatoi^jan's playing something liy 
Verdi ; I heanl it at the theatre at Dublin. I 
amuse them sometimes in the kitchen at ny 
lodgings by playing on a penny tin whistle. I 
can do * Still, so gently,' frt)m ' La Sonnambubi' 
nnd hompip(.*s, and jigs, and Scotch airs, as 
well OS ' Cheer boys, cheer,' and * To the "West,'" 
nnd many others. They get mo to play wheB 
they want to dance, and they pay me for them. 
They call me Shaksjieare by name." 

Blind Readeb, 

An intelligent man gave me the following' 
account of his experience as a blind reader. 
He was poorly dressed, but clean, and had nol 
a vulgar look. 

" My father died when I was ten years old^ 
and my mother in the coronation year, 1838. 
I am now in my thirty-eighth year. I was a 
clerk in various offices. I was not bom blind, 
but lost my sight four years ago, in conse- 
quence of aneiuism. I was a fortnight in the 
Ophthalmic Hospital, and was an out-patient 
for three months. I am a married mun, with 
one child, and we did as well as wo could, boi 
that was very biidly, until every bit of furni- 
ture (and I had a house ftiU of good f^imituie 
up to that time) went. At last I thought I 



LONDON ZABOUB AND THE LONDON POOR. 



109 



: eom a Htlle bjr nacDiig m the street 
society fbr tJie Indigent Blind gave me 
ocpel of StL John, after ICr. Freer^s i«ys. 
lie ptrioe being 8i. ; and a brother-in-luw 
ied ne with the Gospel of St Luke, 

cost Of. In Mr. Freer's syBtem the 
IP alphabet leUen an not oiied, bat 
are Taised characters, thirty.fbnr in nam- 
eadiiding long and short voivela; and 
charactera express sounds, and a sound 
mnpziee a short salable. I learned to 
\3j tliL« system in four lessons. I first 
in public ia Momington-oreRcent For 
rst fortnight or three weeks I took from 
E. to 2a. Oc/. a-day-*one day I took 3«. 
faeiptB than fell to something less than 
ft-4sy, and have been gradually falling 
rince. Since the 1st of January, this 
I haven't averaged more thnn 2«. 0</. 
k by my street rrading and writing. My 
ams 3«. or 4*. a-week with her uocdle, 
g with a * sweater' to a shirtinaker. I 
nerer road anywhere but in Eiiston- 
» and Momington-crescc-nt. On AVhit- 
iqr I made 2s. O^^., nnd that, I assure 
reckon real good holiday earnings ; and 
L nntil I was hoarse with it. Once I 
pd at Momingtonrrpscfflit, as closely as 
d, just out of curiosity and to wile away 
me, above 2000 persons, who passed and 
«ed without giving mo a Imlfpi-nny. The 
Qg peoplo are my hest frionds, most 
3&y. I am tired of the streets; besides. 
balf^tarved. There are now five or six 

mm about London, who rend in the 
a. We can read nothing but the Scrip- 
. as ' blind printing/ — so it's sometimes 
!— has only been used in the Scriptures, 
tie also in the streets, as well as read. 

Wedgwood's manifold writer. I write 
! from Scripture. There was no teaching 
Miy for this. I trace the letters from 
lowledge of them when I could see. I 
• I am the only blind man who writes in 
nets." 

I-EZEBCZSE EXHIBFTOB — ONE-ZXOOSD 

Italian. 

K an Italian, domiciled at Genoa, and I 
very little French, only just enough to 
T things — to got my life ^ith, yon know. 
i is the most rirh to^-n of Piedmont, 
is not the most jolic. Oh no ! no ! no ! 
. is the most beautiful, oh yes ! It is a 
itreet of palaces. Ynu know Turin is 
! tiie King of Sardinia, with the long 
xohes, lives. Has Monsieiur been to 
. ? No ! Ah, it is a great sight t Perhaps 
ienr has seen Genoa? No! Ah you 
a great pleasure to come. Genoa is 
ich, but Turin is vezy beautlM. I pre- 
irin. 

was a soldier in my country. Oh, not an 
r. I was in the 2nd battalion of the 
ilaini nearljf the same as the Chasaenrs 



de Vineennes in France. It is the first regi- 
ment in Piethnont We had a green unifonn 
with a roll collar, and a belt round one shoal> 
der, and a short rifle. We had a feather one 
side of our hats, which ore of felt Ah, 
c'etait bien joli 9a I We use long bullets, 
Mini4 ones. All the anny in my countzy are 
imder four brothers, who are all generahs and 
Ferdinando Mannora is the commander-in* 
chief— the same that was in the Crimaft». 
Neariy all my companions in the Bassolein 
regiment wore from the TjroL Ah, they shoot 
well ! They never miss. They always kilL 
Sacri Dieu 1 

** I was wounded at tiie batoille de Peseare, 
against the Austrians. We gained the battle and 
entered the town. The General Radetzky was 
against us. He is a good general, but Fer- 
dinando Marmora beat him. Ferdinando was 
wounded by a boll in the cheek. It passed 
from left to right He has the mark now.. 
Ah, he is a good general. I was wounded. 
Pardon ! I cannot say if it was a bal de ca- 
non or a bal de Aisil. I was on the ground 
like one dead. I fell vnM\ my leg l)cnt behind 
me, because they found me so. They teU me^ 
that as I foil I cried, * My God! my God!' 
but tliat is not in my memory. After they had 
finished the battle they took up the wounded.. 
Perhaps I was on tho ground twelve hours, but 
I do not know exactly. I was picked up with 
others ond taken to the hospital, and then 
one day after my leg decomposed,, and it was 
cut directly. AU the bone was fracass^, vaiiy 
benucoup. I was in the hospital for forty days. 
Ah ! it was terrible. To cut tlio nerves was 
terrible. They correspond witli the head* 
Ah, horrible I They gave me no chloroform. 
Uien ! rien I No, nor any donnitore, as we 
call it ill Italian, vou know, — something in a 
glass to drink and make you sleep. Bien ! 
rien! K I had gone into the Hdpital des 
Invalidcs, I sliould have had 20 sous a-day ; 
but I wonld not, and now my pension is 12 
sous a-day. I am paid tliat now ; whether I 
am here or there, it is the same. My wife re- 
ceives tlie 12 sous whilst I am here. I 
shall not stop here long. The langue is too 
difficult No, I shall not learn it, because at 
the house where X lodge we speak Italian^ 
and in the streets I speak to no one. 

*-' I have been to France, but there the 
policemen were against me. They are bfites, 
Uie policemen franvais. The gentlemen and 
ladies all all good. Aa I walked in the streets 
with my onitch, one would say, * Here, poor 
fellow, are two sous ;' or, * Come with me and 
have some wine.' They are good liearts there. 
Whilst X was going to Paris I walk on my leg. 
I also even now and then find good occasions 
for mounting in a Toiture. I say to tliem, 
* Monsieur, accord me the reUof of a ride ? ' and 
they say, ' Yes, come, come.' 

" In England no police interfere with me.. 
Here Uis good. If the police say to me • Go 
on, go on,' Isay, « Pavdoot Monsieur/ aadmoio 



150 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR, 



away. I never ask any body for money. I 
work in the streets, and do my gun exer. 
cise, and then I leave it to the Bon Dieu to 
make them give me something. I never ask. 

'*I have been very unfortunate. I have a 
tumour come under the arm where I rest on 
my crutch. It is a tumour, as they call it in 
Prance, but I do not know what it is named 
in English. I went to the hospital of San 
Bartolommeo and they cut it for me. Then 
I have hurt my stomach, fh)m the force of 
calling out the differing orders of command- 
ing, whilst I am doing my gim exercises in 
the streets. I was two montlis in my bed with 
my arm and my stomach being bad. Some 
days I cannot go out, I am so ill. I cannot 
drmk beer, it is too hot for me, and gets to 
my head, and it is bad for my stomach. I eat 
Ash: that is good for the voice and the stomach. 
Now I am better, and my side does not hurt me 
when I cry out my commanding orders. If I 
do it for along time it is painful. 

** Ah, pauvro diablc! to stop two months in 
my bed, June, August t The most beautiftil 
months. It was ruin to mo. 

*' After I have gone out for one day, I am 
forced to rest for the next one. Monday I go 
out, because I repose on the Sunday. Then 
all goes well, I am strong in my voice. But I 
cannot travaillcr two days following. It is not 
my leg, that is strong. It is my stomach, and 
the pains in my side from crying out my com- 
mondcments. When I go out I make about 
10s. a-week. Yes, it comes to that. It is 
more than 1«. a-day. 

'* I have a cold. I go out one day when it 
blew from the north, and the next day I was 
ill. It makes more cold here than at Genoa, 
but at Tiuin in the winter it is more cold than 
here. It is terrible, terrible. A servant brings 
in a jug of water, and by-and-by it has ice on 
its top. I find tlie bourgeois and not the 
militaires give the most money. All the per- 
sons who have voyog^ in France and Italy 
will give me money — not much, you know, but 
to me fortune, fortune I If I see a foreigner 
in the crowd I speak to him. I know the face 
of an Stronger tont-de-suite. Some say to me. 
* Vous parlez Fran9ais ? ' ' Oui Monsieur.' 
Others ask me, * You speak Italian? ' *Si, Signor.' 
I never, when I go through my exercise, begin 
by addressing the people. If I told them I 
liad been a soldier in the army of Sardinia, 
they would not understand me. Yes, some of 
the words sound the same in French and 
English, such as army and soldat, but I have 
not the heart to beg. I have been soldier, 
andil cannot take off my cap and beg. I 
work for what they give me. They give me 
money and I give Uiem my exercise. I some- 
times have done my exercise before a great 
crowd of people, and when it is done nobody 
will give me money, and my heart sinks 
within me. I stand there honteux. One 
will then in pity throw a sou, but I cannot 
pick it up, for I will not sell my pride for a 



penny. If they hand it to me, then I take it, 
and am pleased with their kindness. «Bat)I 
have only one leg, and to throw Uie penny on 
the ground is cruel, for I cannot bend down, 
and it hurts my pride to put such money in 
my pocket, 

** The little children do not annt^ me in ths 
streets, because I never do my exercise nntfl 
they are at school. Between one and two I 
never do my exercise, because the littla 
(*hildren they are going to their lessons. 
They never mock me in the streets, for X have 
been unfortunate to lose my legs, and no- 
body will mock a miserable inforton^. The 
carts of the butchers and the bakers, whidi 
carry the meat and the bread, and go so ilvt 
in the streets, they frighten me when I do 
my excn;ises. They neariy icrase the geni. 
Tenez ! Yesterday I go to the chemm de ftr ds 
Birmingham, to the open space before the 
station, and then I do my exercise. All the 
people come to their windows and ooOeet 
about to see me. I walk about like a soldier 
— but only on my one leg, you know, hoppin^^ 
and I do my exercise with my crutch for 117 
gun. I stand very steady on one leg. Then 
was a coachman of a cab, and he continued to 
drive his horse at me, and say, * Go on 1 go on!' 
There was no policeman, or he would not 
have dared to do it, for the policemen protect 
me. Le b^te ! I turn upon him, and ciy, ' B^! 
take care, bete!' But he still say, ' Get on.' The 
cheval come close to my back whilst I hop on 
my one leg to avoid him. At lost I was voy 
tired, and he cried out always, ' Get on ! ^et onf 
So I cried out for help, and all the ladies nm 
out from their houses and protect me. Thcj 
said, * Poor fellow ! poor fellow ! ' and all gave me 
a hsif sou. If I had hod five shillings in n^ 
pocket, I would have gone to a journal andxe- 
ported that b£te, and had thefellow exposed; but 
I bad not five shillings, so I could not go to a 
journal. 

** When I do my exercise, this what I do. 
I first of all stand still on one leg, in the 
position of a militaire, with my cratch 
shouldered like a gun. That is how I so- 
cumulate the persons. Then I have to do lU. 
It makes me laugh, for I have to be the 
general, the capitaines, the drums, the soldios, 
and all. Pauvre diable ! I must live. It is 
curious, and makes me laugh. 

'* I first begin my exercises by doing the 
drums. I beat my hands together, and moke 
a noise like this — * hum, hum ! hum, hum, 
hum! hum, hum! hum, hum! hu-n-u-m!' 
and then the drums go away and I do them 
in the distance. You see I am the dmmmen 
then. Next I become the army, and make A 
noise with my foot, resembling soldiers on « 
march, and I go from side to side to iTni^^ft 
an army marching. Then I become the trum- 
peters, but instead of doing the trumpets I 
whistle their music, and Uie sound comes 
nearer and nearer, and gets louder and louder, 
and then gradually dies away in the distance^ 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



157 



M if a bfttaillon was marching in front of its 

«neral. I make a stamping with my foot, 

£ke men marching past. After that I become 

the officiers, the capitaines and the lieutenants, 

•a if the general was passing before them, 

■nd my crutch becomes my sword instead 

oC my gon. Then I draw it from my side, 

and present it with the handle pointed to my 

loeast. Then I become the general, and I 

gives this order : * Separate bataillons three 

steps behind — un, deux, trois !' and I instantly 

torn to the army again and give three hops 

to the side, so that the general may walk 

vp and down before me and see how the 

■oldiers are looking. Then I in turn become 

the offider who gives the commands, and the 

nildicrs who execute them. It hurts my 

mice when I cry out these commands. They 

nasi be very loud, or all the army would not 

hear them. I can be heard a long way off 

when I call them out. I begin with * Portez 

AE-B-R-MES!' that is, * Garry arms,' in 

En^and. Then I lift my crutch up on my 

left side and hold it there. Then comes 

•Pbsbxkt AR.B-RMES!' and theni hold 

the gun — ^my crutch, you know — in front 

of me, straight up. The next is, * Repose 

IB-B-EMES !' and I put to my hip, with the 

bBTsl leaning forwards. When I say, barrel, 

ii^ only my crutch, you understand. Then I 

diOQt, *■ Un, deux, trois ! Ground AR-R-RMS !' 

■nd let the top of my crutch slide on to the 

road, ttkd I stamp with my toes to resemble 

the noiae. Aiten^-ards I give the command, 

• PoBXU AB-R-IIMES ." and then I carry my 

anna again in my left hand, and slap my 

other haind hard down by my right side, like 

a Teritahle soldier, and stand upright in posi- 

tioiL Whilst I am so I shout, * Separate 

va COLUMNS ! Un, deux, TR-R-ROIS !' 

md instantly I hop on my one leg three times 

backwards, so as to let the general once more 

walk down the ranks and inspect the men. 

As soon as he is supposed to be near to me, I 

ikoat * Present AR-R-RMES ! ' and then I 

hold my gun — the crutch, you comprehend — 

in fh>nt of me. Then, as soon as the general 

is supposed to have passed, I shout out, ^ Re 

fosi AB-B-RMES! ' and I let the crutch slant 

from the right hip, waiting imtil I cry 

agiin * Ground AR-R.R-RMS! un, deux, 

TB-B-BOISl' and then down slides the 

crateh to the ground. 

** Next I do the other part of the review. 
I do the firing now, only, you comprehend, 
I don't fire, but only imitate it with my crutch. 
I call out * Ground AR.R-RMS ! ' and let the 
top of my crutch fall to the earth. After 
that X shout, * Load AR-R-RMS ! un, deux, 
TB-B-ROIS ! ' and I pretend to take a car- 
traohe from my side, and bite off the end, 
ttd dip it down the barrel of my crutch. 
Kext I give the command, * Draw RAM- 
BODS! UH, deux, TR-R-ROIS ! ' and then I 
b^pn to ram the cartridge home to the breech 
of the barreL Afterwards I give the com- 



mand, * Cock AR-R-RMS !' and then I pretend 
to take a percussion cap from my side-pocket, 
and I place it on the nipple and draw back 
the hammer. Afterwards I shout, * Point 
AR-R-RMS ! ' and I pretend to take aim. 
Next I shout, ' Recover AR-R-RMS ! ' that 
is, to hold the gim up in the air, and not to 
fire. Then I give orders, such as * Point to 
THE LEFT,* or * Point to the right,' and which- 
ever way it is, I have to twist myself round 
on my one leg, and take an aim that way. 
Then I give myself the order to *FIRE !' 
and I imitate it by a loud shout, and then 
rattling my tongue as if the whole line was 
firing. As quickly as I can call out I shout, 

* Recover AR-R-RMS ! ' and I put up my 
gun before me to resist with my bayonet any 
charge that may be made. Then I shout out, 

* Draw up the ranks and receive the 
CAVALRY!' and then I work myself along 
on my one foot, but not by hopping; and 
there I am waiting for the enemy's horse, and 
ready to receive them. Often, after I have 
fired, I call out « CHAR-R-RGE I ' and then 
I hop forwards as fast as I can, as if I was 
rushing down upon the enemy, like this. Ah ! 
I was nearly charging through your window ; 
I only stopped in time, or I should have 
broken the squares in reality. Such a victory 
would have cost me too dear. After I have 
charged the enemy and put them to fiight, 
then I draw myself up again, and give the 
order to * Form COLUMNS!' And next I 

* Carry AR-R-RMS,' and then * Present 
AR-R-RMS.' and finish by * GROUNDING 
AR-R-RMS; UN, DEUX, TR-R-ROIS.' 

*• Oh, I have forgotten one part. I do it 
after the charging. When I have returned 
from putting the enemy to flight, I become 
the general calling his troops together. I 
shout, * AR-R-RMS on the SHOULDER!' 
and then I become the soldier, and let my 
gun rest on my shoulder, the same as when 
I am marching. Then I shout, » MARCH ! ' 
and I hop round on my poor leg, for I cannot 
march, you comprehend, and I suppose my- 
self to be defiling before the general. Next 
comes the order * Halt ! ' and I stop still. 

" It does not fatigue me to hop about on one 
leg. It is strong as iron. It is never fatigued. 
I have walked mUes on it with my crutch. 
It only hurts my chest to holloa out the com- 
mands, for if I do not do it with all my force 
it is not heard far off. Besides, I am supposed 
to bo ordering an army, and you must shout 
out to be heard by all Uie men ; and although 
I am the only one, to be sure, still I wish to 
make the audience believe I am an army. 

" One day I was up where there is the 
Palace of the Regiua, by the park, with the 
trees — a very pretty spot, with a park comer, 
you know. I was there, and I go by a street 
where the man marks the omnibus which 
pass, and I go down a short street, and I come 
to a large place where I do my exercises. A 
gentleman say to me, * Come, my friend,' and 



108 



LONBOK LABOZm AND THE ZOVBOV 900M. 



I go into hifl honse, and he give me some 
bremd, and some meat, and some beer, and a 
shilling, and I do my exercises for him. 
That is tlie only house whoro I iras called to 
perform inside. He spoke Italian, and Frtmch, 
and Knglish, so that I not know which couiitr>' 
ho belongs to. Another day I was doing my 
exercises and some little children called to 
their mamma, * Oh, look ! look ! come here ! 
the soldier! the soldier!' and the dame said 
to me, * Come hero and peiibim to my little 
boys ;' and she guve me sixpence. Those are 
my fortunes, for to-day I may take two or three 
shillinf^s, und to-morrow notliing hut a few 
miseraiile sous; or perhaps 1 am ill in my 
stomach with shouting, and I cunuot come 
out to work for my living. 

** When it is cold it makes tlio end of my 
leg, where it's cut otT, bepn to treinhle, and 
then it almost shakes mo with iu shivering, 
and I am forced to go homi.s lor it is painl'ul. 

** I liave been about fourteen months. They 
wanted 4«. to bring me from Ihndogne to 
Ijiindon : but I luul no money, so at the bureau 
oHire they trave me u Ticket for nothing. Then 
I came st might to l>(indon. When 1 came to 
London 1 roulila't si>uak Kn^lish, and X knew 
no one ; had no money, and didji't kmiw where; 
to lodge. That is hard — bien dur. I bought 
some bread nnd cat it, and then in the even- 
ing I met im 1 taliun. who plays on tho organ, 
you know ; and lie said, * Come with me ;* and 
he took me to his lodgings, and there I found 
Italians and Frenchmen, and I was hapjty. 
I began tu work the next day at my ex- 
ercises. 

"One day I was in the quarter of tho 
palaces, by the pork, you know, and I began 
my exercises. I could not speak English, 
and a polireman came to me and said, * Oo 
on ! • Whafs that ? 1 tlioujrht. He said, ' Go 
on!' again, and I couhin't comprehend, and 
asked him, * Parlate Itahano?' and he keiit on 
Ba>ing, * Go on ! • This is drolo, I thought ; so 
I said, * Vous parlez Franyais?' ond he still 
said, * Oo on : ' What he meant I couldn't 
malxe out, for I didn't know English, and I 
Imd only hecu here a week. I Uiought hi? 
vanted to see my exon-ises, so I bcjran, ' Tortez 
ur-r-r-nies I' nnd h(r still said, ' Go rm !' Then 
I laughed, and nuuh- some signs to follow liini. 
Oh, 1 thou^lit, it is 8<»me one else who wants 
to see my exvrcisi's ; und I followed him, en- 
chanted with my good fortune. ]3ut, alas! 
he took me ti) n police office. There I had an 
interpreter, ami I was told I must not do my 
exercises in tin; street. When I told them 1 
was a st.ldier in the army of the ally of 
England, and that I had been wounded in 
battle, and lost my leg fighting for my countr\-, 
they let me go; nnd sint-e tho policemen are 
very kind to me, and always say, * Go on,' ^ith 
much politeness. I told the magistrate in 
Italian, * Uow can England, so rich and so 
powerfid, object to a pauvre diable like me 
earning a sou, by tdiowing the exfiraaea of 



the army of its ally r ThemagistntolMighadi 
and so did the peiople, and I said, * Good d^f/ 
and made my reverence and left. I have 
never been in a prison. Oh, no! nol no! 
no ! no ! What harm could I do ? 1 hew 
not tlio power to be a criminal, and I bate 
the heart to be an honest man, and live kj 
my exercises. 

*' I have travelled in the coimliy. I want 
to Cheltenham and Bristol. I walked voy 
little of the way. I did my exercises at am 
l)la4ro, and then I got enongh to go to another 
town. Ah, it is beautiful countiy out there. 
I went to Bristol I made 7«. in two diqii 
thert!. But I dont like the coimtxy. It does 
not suit me. I prefer London. 

" I on«j tlay did my exercises by — what do 
you call it? where the jteople go np — high, 
high — no, not St. Paul's — no, by a bridoe, 
where tliero is an open space. Yes, UM 
monnmeut of Kelson ; and then, O ! what t 
(Towd ! To tho right and the left, and to the 
front and behind, an immense crowd to Me 
my exercises. I maile a good deal of moaej 
that day. A great deal. Tho most that I 
ever did. 

**I make about St. a-weck regnlariy; I 
make more than that some weeks, but I ttm 
don't go out for a week, because in the nin ) 
nobody will come to see my exercises. Some 
weeks I malce l*^., but others not St. But I 
must moke H«. to be able to pay for lodgings, 
and food, and washing, and clothes, and in 
my shoe ; fiv I only want one. I give 3^ 
a-day for my lodgings ; but then we bare e 
kitchen, and a Are in it, where we go and Bt 
There are a great many paysana there, « 
great many boys, where I lodge, and thatgim 
me pain to see them ; for tliey have been 
brought over from their country, and here 
they arc miserable, and cannot S])cak a wad 
of English, and ore mmle to work i\yt thar 
master, who takes the money. Oh 1 it's make 
me much pain. 

•• I cannot say if there are any otliers who 
do their exercises in the streets ; but I hare 
never seen any. I am, I think, the only 
stranger who d<ies his exercises. It was mr 
own idea. I did it in France whilst I wes 
travelling; but it was only once or twice, iiv 
it WAS defoudu to do it; and the policemao 
are very severe. lis sont betes, les policemen 
on J-'rance. The gentlemons and ladies veiy 
good heart, ond give a poor diable des sous, or 
otfer wine to pauvre diable qui a i>erdu la 
jamhe en comhnttant pom* sapatrie; maiales 
policemen sont bdtes. Ah, bdics! so bdtee I 
can't tell you." 



IL— STREET MUSICIANS. 

CoNCERNiKa street mosioians, they are of 
multifarious classes. As a general rule, they 
may almost be divided into the tolerabb and 
the intoleiableperfonnciB, some of them trust- 



ZOfTDOir LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOS, 



lot 



iietr Bkin in muric for the reward for 
ertions, others only making a noUe^ so 
ttever money they obtain is given th<*m 
as an inducement for them to depart. 
•11-known engraving by Hogarth, of 
raged mnsician," is an illnstraiion of 
secntirms inflicted in olden times by 
58 of street performers; and in the 
ions by modem caricaturists we liave 
oerous proofs, that up to the present 
F! nuifiance has not abated. Indeed, 
' these people carry with them musical 
ents, merely as a means of avoiding the 
of the Mendicity Society, or in some 
e!) as a signal of their coming to the 
in the neighbourhood, who are in the 
giving ihem a small weekly pension. 
' are a more umnerous class than any 
f the street performers I have yet 
:th. Tlie musicians are estimated at 
id the ballad singers at 250. 
treet musicians are of two kinds, the 
ind the bHnd. The former obtain 
jney by the agreeableness of their per- 
c, and the latter, in pity for their 
1 rather than admiration of their har- 
Tbe blind street musicians, it must 
esscd, belong generally to the rudest 
^ performers. Music is not used by 
, a means of pleasing, but rather as a 
' soliciting attention. Such individuals 
wn in the *• profession ** by the name of 
men ;" they have their regular rounds 
£, and particular houses at which to 

eeitain days of the week, and from 
fliey generally obtain a "small trifle." 
«n, however, a most pecuhar class of 
tols. They are mostly well-known 
»«» and many of them have been pcr- 

in the streets of London for many 
The>* are also remarkable for the reli- 
st of their thoughts, and the compara- 
oement of their tastes and feelings. 

*• Old Sabah." 

)f the most descning and peculiar of 
eet musicians was an old lady who 
upon a hurdy-gnrdy. She had been 
be streets of London for upwards of 
ars, and being blind, had had during 
nod four guides, and worn out three 
ents. Her cheerfulness, considering 
"ation and precarious mode of life, was 
linary. Her love of truth, and the 
J simplicity of her nature, were almost 
e. I^e the generality of blind people, 
d a deep sense of rehgion, and her 
for a woman in her station of life was 
ing marvellous ; for, though living on 
ae herself had, I was told, two or three 
ensioners. 'MMien questioned on this 
, she laughed the matter off as a jest, 
I was assured of the truth of the fact 
Lention to her guide was most marked, 
ip of tea was given to her after her 



day's rounds, she would be sure to turn to the 
poor creature who led her about, and ask, 
" You comfortable, Liza ? " or " Is your tea to 
your liking, Liza ? " 

When conveyed to Mr. Beard's establish- 
ment to have her daguerreotype taken, she for 
the first time in her life rode in a cab ; and 
then her fear at being j^nlled " backwards " as 
she termed it (for she sat with her back to the 
horse), was almost painful. She felt about 
for something to lay hold of, and did not ap- 
pear comfortable until she had a firm grasp of 
the pocket. After her alarm had in a mea- 
sure subsided, she turned to her guide and 
said, ^'We must put np wi^ those trials, 
Liza.** In a short time, however, she began 
to find the ride pleasant enough. " Very nice, 
ain't it Liza?" she said ; " but I shouldn't like 
to ride on them steamboats, they say they're 
shocking dangerous ; and as for them railways, 
I've heard tell therfr're dreadful; but these 
cabs, Liza, is very nice." On the road she was 
ctmtinually asking " liza " where they were, 
and wondering at the rapidity at which they 
travelled. ^'Aht'* she said, laughing, "if I 
had one of these here cabs, my * rounds* 
would soon be over." Whilst ascending the 
high flight of stairs that led to the portrait- 
rooms, she laughed at every proposal made to 
her to rest " There's twice as many stairs ag 
these to our church, ain't there, Liza f " she 
replied when pressed. When the portrait was 
finished she expressed a wish to feel it 

The following is the history of her life, as 
she herself related it, answering to the variety 
of questions put to her on the subject : — 

*'I was bom the 4th April, 1766 (it was 
Good Friday that year), at a small chandler's 
shop, facing the White Horse, Stuart's-rents, 
Drury-lane. Father was a hatter, and mother 
an artificial-flower maker and feather finisher. 
When I was but a day old, the nurse took me 
out of tho warm bed' and earried me to the 
window, to show some people how like I was 
to father. The cold flew to my eyes and I 
caught inflammation in them. Owing to mother 
being forced to be from home all day at her 
work, I was put out to dry-nurse when I was 
three weeks old. My eyes were then very bad, 
by all accounts, and some neighbours told 
the woman I was with, that Turner's eeiata 
would do them good. She got some and put 
it on my eyes, and when poor mother eame to 
suckle me at her dinner-hour, my eyes was all 
* a gore of blood.' From that time I never 
see afterwards. She did it, poor woman, fbr 
the best ; it was no fault of her^ and lias 
sure I bears her no malice for it I stayed aft 
home irith mother until I was thirteen, wfaea 
I was put to the Blind-school, but I on^ kept 
there nine months; they turned me oat m- 
cause 1 was not clever with my hands, snd I 
could not learn to spin or make sssb-lines; 
my hands was ooker'd like. I had not been 
used at home to do anjrthing for myself— not 
erentoinssaByMUl KoOw wm ahmys oat 



:.X1V, 



160 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



at her work, so she could not learn me. and 
no one else would, so that's how it was I was 
turned out I then went hack to my mother, 
and kept with her till her death. I well re- 
memher that ; I heard her last. When she 
died I was just sixteen year old. I was sent 
to the Union — *Pancridge' Union it was — 
and father with me (for he was ill at the time ). 
He died too, and left me, in seven weeks after 
mother. When they was both gone, I felt I 
had lost my only friends, and that I was all 
alone in the world and blind. But, take it 
altogether, the world has been very good to me, 
and I have much to thank God for and the 
good woman I am with. I missed mother the 
most, she was so kind to me ; there was no 
one like her ; no, not even father. I was kept 
in the Union until I was twenty ; the parish 
paid for my learning the ' cymbal :' God bless 
them for it, I say. A poor woman in the 
workhouse first asked me to learn music ; she 
said it would always be a bit of bread for me ; 
I did as she told me, and I thank her to this 
day for it. It took me just five months to 
learn the — cymbal, if you please — the hurdy- 
gurdy ain't it's right name. The first tune I 
ever played was *God save the King,' the 
Queen as is now ; then * Hariequin Hamlet,' 
that took me a long time to get off; it was 
three weeks before they put me on a new one. 
I then learnt 'Moll Brook;' then I did the 
* Turnpike-gate ' and * Patrick's day in the 
morning : ' all of them I learnt In the Union. I 
got a poor man to teach me the 'New-rigged 
ship/ I soon learnt it, because it was an easy 
tune. Two-and-forty years ago I played * The 
Gal I left behind me.' A woman learnt it me ; 
she flayed my cymbal and I listened, and so 
got it. * Oh, Susannah ! ' I learnt myself by 
hearing it on the horgan. I always try and 
listen to a new tune when I am in the street, 
and got it off if I can : it's my bread. I waited 
to hear one to-day, quite a new one, but I 
didn't like it, so I went on. 'Hasten to the 
Wedding' is my favourite; I played it years 
ago, and play it still. I like * Where have you 
been all Uie night?' it's a Scotch tune. The 
woman as persuaded me to learn the cymbal 
took mo out of the Union with her ; I lived 
with her, and she led me about the streets. 
When she died I took her daughter for my 
guide. She walked with me for more than 
fiye-and-twenty year, and she might have been 
with me to this day, but she took to drinking 
and killed herself with it. She behaved very 
bad to me at last, for as soon as we got a few 
hal4>enoe she used to go into the public and 
spend it all ; and many a time Tm sure she's 
been too tipsy to take me home. One night I 
remember she rolled into the road at Ken- 
sington, and as near pulled me with her. We 
was both locked up in the station-house, for 
she couldn't stand for liquor, and I was 
obligated to wait till she could lead me home. 
It was very cruel of her to treat me so, but, 
poor creature, she's gone, and I forgive her 



I'm sure. I'd many guides arter her, bninose 
of them was honest like Liza is : I dont think 
Khe'd rob me of a farden. Would you, liza! 
Yes, I've my reg'lar rounds, and I've kept to 
'em for near upon fifty year. All the children 
like to hear me coming along, for I alwayc 
plays my cjmbal as I goes. At Kentish-towa 
they calls me Mrs. Tuesday, and at Kensing- 
ton I'm Mrs. Friday, and so on. At some 
places they likes polkas, but at one house I 
plays at in Kensington they always ask me for 
' Haste to the Wedding.' No, the cymbal iant 
very hard to play ; the only thing is, you mut 
be very particular that the works is covered up^ 
or the halfpence is apt to drop in. King David, 
they say, played on one of those here instru- 
ments. We're very tired by night-time ; aint 
we, Liza? but when I gets home the god 
woman I lodges with has always a l»t cC 
something for me to eat with my cup of tea. 
Sh^'s a good soul, and keeps me tidy and eleam 
I helps her all I can ; when I come in, I cairiet 
her a pail of water up-stairs, and such-lika. 
Many ladies as has known me since they wii 
children allows me a trifle. One maiden la^f 
near Brunswick-square has given me Bixpenea 
a week for many a year, and another allowa 
me eighteenpence a fortnight ; so that, one wij 
and another, I am very comfortable, and I*i« 
much to be thankful for." 

It was during one of old Sarah's jonmeijB 
that an accident occurred, which ultimatelj 
deprived London of the well-known old huidy^ 
gurdy woman. In crossing Seymour-street, 
she and her guide Liza were knocked dovm 
by a cab, as it suddenly turned a comer. Thcf 
were picked up and placed in the vehicle (Ui* 
poor gxiide dead, and Sarah with her limbt 
broken), and carried to the University Hoi^ 
tal. Old Sarah's description of that ride ia 
more terrible and tragic than I can hope to 
make out to you. The poor blind creature 
was ignorant of the fate of her guide, aha 
afterwards told us, and kept begging and 
praying to Liza to speak to her as Uie vehida 
conveyed them to the asylum. She shook 
her, she said, and intreated her to say if she 
was hurt, but not a word was spoken in answer, 
and then she felt how terrible a privation WM 
her blindness; and it was not until th^y 
reached the hospital, and they were lifted fireia 
the cab, that she knew, as she heard the people 
whisper to one another, that her fkithftd 
attendant was dead. In telling us this, the 
good old soul forgot her own sufferings fortha 
time, as she lay with both her legs brokea 
beneath the hooped bed-clothes of the hospital 
bed ; and when, after many long weeks, she left 
the medical asylum, she was unable to continna 
her playing on the hurdy-gurdy, her hand 
being now needed for the crutch that wa* 
requisite to bear her on her rounds. 

The shock, however, had been too much for 
the poor old creature's feeble nature to rally 
against, and though she continued to hobbto 
round to th e houses of the kind people who hai 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



101 



■re allowed her a few penee per week, 
ent limping along nmaicless tlurongh the 
I for some months after she left the 
tal, yet her little remaining strength at 
I fikiled her, and she took to her bed in a 
in Bell-court, Graj's-inn-lane, never to 
ton it again. 

** FaBM-YABD " PXJLTEIU 

BT-LOOEmo man, half-blind, and wrapped 
large, old, faded black-cotton great-coat, 
the following statement, ha\'ing first 
me some specimens of his art :— 
imitate all the animals of the farm-yard 
' fiddle : I imitate the bull, the calf, the 
he cock, the hen when she's laid an egg, 
eacock, and the ass. I have done this 
t streets for nearly twelve years. I was 
hi np as a musician at my own desire, 
a young man (I am now 53) I used to 
; to play at parties, doing middling imtil 
^t failed me ; I then did the form-yard 
e fiddle for a living. Though I had 
heard of such a thing before, by con- 
pTBctico I made myself perfect. I 
d from nature, I never was in a farm- 
a my life, but I went and listened to the 
y, anywhere in town that I could meet 
hem, and I then imitated them on my 
ment. The Smithfield cattle gave me 
ady for the bull and the calf. My 
ck I got at the Belvidere- gardens in 
{ton. The ass is common, and so is the 
and them I studied anywhere. It took 
month, not more, if so much, to acquire 
Ithonght a sufficient skill in my under- 
r, and then I started it in the streets. 
I liked the very first time I tried it. I 
■ay what animal I am going to give ; I 
that to the judgment of the listeners. 
eoold always tell what it was. I could 
12s. a-week the year through. I play it 
blic-houses as well as in the streets. 
tches are all over London, and I don't 
that one is better than another. Work- 
lople are my best friends. Thursday 
riday are my worst days ; Monday and 
lay my best, when I reckon 2«. 6(2. a 
ome taking. I am the only man who 
he farm-yard." 

Bund Performeb on thz Bells. 

[X -looking blind man, with a cheerful 
poorly but not squalidly dressed, gave 
le subjoined narrative. He was led by 
Dg, healthy -looking lad of 15, his step- 

have been blind since within a month 
r birth," ho said, **and have been 23 
a street performer. My parents were 
bnt they managed to have me taught 
u I am 55 years old. I was one of a 
rband in my youth, and could make my 
^week at it. I didn't like the hand, for 



if you are steady yourself yon can't get others 
to be steady, and so no good can be done. 
I next started a piano in the streets ; that was 
23 years ago. I bought a chaise big enough 
for an invalid, and having had the body re- 
moved, my piano was fitted on the sprinn 
and the axle-tree. I carried a seat, and comd 
play the instrument either sitting or standing, 
and so I travelled through London with it. 
It did pretty well; in the summer I took 
never less than 20t., and I have taken 40s. on 
rare occasions, in a week ; but the small 
takings in the winter would reduce my yearly 
average to 15s. a-week at the utmost. I 
played the piano, more or less, until within 
these three or four years. I started the bells 
that I play now, as near as I can recollect, 
some 18 years ago. When I first played 
them, I hfiui my 14 beUs arranged on a rail, 
and tapped them with my two leather ham- 
mers held in my hands in the usual way. I 
thought next I could introduce some novelty 
into the performance. The novelty I speak 
of was to play the violin with the bells. 1 
had hammers fixed on a rail, so as each bell 
had its particular hammer; these hammers 
were connected with cords to a pedal acting 
with a spring te bring itself up, and so, by 
playing Uie pedal with my feet, I had fUU 
command of the bells, and made them ac- 
company the violin, so that I could give any 
tune almost with the power of a band. It 
was always my delight in my leisure moments, 
and is a good deal so still, to study improve- 
ments such as I have described. The bells 
and violin together brought me in about the 
same as the piano. I played the violoncello 
with my feet also, on a plan of my own, and 
the violin in my hand. I had the violoncello 
on a firame on the groimd, so arranged that I 
could move the bow with my foot in harmony 
with the violin in my hand. The last thing 
I have introduced is the playing four ac- 
cordions with my feet. The accordions are 
fixed in a firame, and I make them accompany 
the violin. Of all my plans, the piano, and 
the bells and violin, did the best, and are the 
best still for a standard. I can only average 
12s. a-week, take the year through, which is 
very little for two." 

Bum) Femali 'Violin Pliteb. 

I HAD the following narrative from a stout 
blind woman, with a very grave and even 
meditative look, fifty-six years old, dressed in 
a clean cotton gown, the pattern of which was 
almost washed out She was led by a very 
fine dog (a Scotdi coUey, she described it), a 
chain l^ing aflixed to the dog's leather coUar 
A boy, poor and destitute, she said, bare- 
footed, and wearing a greasy ragged jacket, with 
his bare skin showing through the many rents, 
accompanied her when I saw her. The boy 
had been with her a month, she supporting 
him. She said: — 



loa 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON JtOOSU 



*' I have been Vtlind twelve j^uu I was a 
servant in my 3'outh, and in 18tl4 mamed a 
joumeyman cabinet-maker. I vent blind 
from an inflammation two years before my 
hubbfliid died. We had Ave ehildren, all dead 
now— the last died six years ago ; and at my 
husband's death I was left almost destitute. 
I used to sell a few laees in tha street, but 
couldn't dear 2«. Oi. a-week by it. I had a 
little he^ from the parish, but very rarely ; 
and at last I could get nothing but an order 
for the house. A neighbour— a tradeaman — 
then taught me at his leisure to {day the violin, 
but I'm not a great performer. I wish I was. 
I began to piny in Uie streets five years ago. 
I get halfpennies in charity, not for my musie. 
Some days I pick up 2«., some days only M., 
and on wet days nothing. I've often had to 
pledge my fiddle for 2«ir— I could ucvor get 
more on it, and sometimes not that. When my 
fiddle was in pledge, I used to sell matches 
and laccs in tlie streets, and havo had to bor- 
row l\d, to lay in a stock. I've sometimes 
taken Id, in eight hours. My chief places, 
when I've only the dog to lead inti, are Kegeut- 
streot and Portland-place; mid, really, peo- 
ple ore very kind and careful in guiding and 
directing mc, — even the cabmen! may God 
bless thorn!' 

BuKi> Scotch Violoncsixo Plater. 

A STOUT, hale -looking blind man, dressed very 
decently in coloured clothes, and scrupuloubly 
dean, gave me the following details : — 

*"* I am one of the three blind Scotchmen 
who go about Uie streets in company, playing 
the 'violoncello, clarionet^ and tiuto. We arc 
really Highlanders, and can all speak Gaelic ; 
but a good many London Highlanders arc 
Irish. I have been thirty yeoi-s in the streets of 
London ; one of my mates has b«;en forty years, 
—he's sixty-nine;— the other has been thirty 
^ears. I became partially Idind, through on 
inHommation, when I was fourteen, out I was 
stone-bUnd when I was twenty-two. Before 
I was totally blind I came to L(>ndon, travel- 
ling up witli the liolp of my homines, guided 
by a little boy. I settled in London, lindiug 
it a big place, where a man could do well at 
tlittt time, and I took a turn every now ami 
then into the country. ^ I could make 11#. n- 
week, winter and summer through, thuty 
years ago, by playing in Uie streets ; now 1 
can't molce 0». a-week, take winter and summer. 
I met my two mates, who are both blind men, 
— hotli came to England for the same reason 
as I did, — in ray joimieyings in London ; and 
at lost we agreed to go together, — that's 
twenty years ago. AVe've been together, on 
and off, ever since. Sometimes, one of us 
will take a turn roimd the coast of Kent, and 
another round the coast of Devon ; and then 
join again in Londtm, or meet by accident. 
We have always agi'eed very well, and never 
fought. We, — I mean the streeubliud, — 



tried to maioiain a buyiiig and tickrdab cl 
our own; but wtt wese always too poor. W^ 
Uve in rooms. I doa*t know one Uind m»* 
raeian who lives in a lodgiBg-houac. I aqnsetf * 
know a doaen blind mea, bow perfbimiiig in 
the streets of London; theat ace not all eob- 
actly blind, but about as bad ; the most nm 
stone-blind. The blind musicians are chiefly 
married men. I don't know one who Uvea 
with a woman liamarned. The loss of sigh& 
changes a i&an. He doeant think of wom«^ 
and women don't think of him. We art of ft 
religious turn, too, generally. I am a Roman 
Catholic; but the other Seot4sh blind i 
are Presbyterians. The Scotch in 
are our good firienda, becaase tliey give us n 
little sum altogether, perhape ; but the En- 
glish working-people arc our main aupportt 
it is by them we livt*, and I always found thea 
kind and liberal,— the most liberal in the woild 
as I know. Through Marylebone is our belt 
round, and Saturday night our best time. Wft 
play all tliree together. * Johnny Cope' k 
our best-Uked time. I think the bhnd Scotch^ 
men don't come to play in London now. I 
can remember many blijad Scotch musiciaBSa 
or pipers, in London : tliey are all dead now 1 
The trade's dead too, — it is so ! When we 
tliought of forming the blind dub, theze waa 
never moro tlian a dozen members. These 
were two basket-makers, one mat-maker, four 
violin-players, myself, and my two mates; 
which was tlie nimibcr when it dropped for 
want of funds ; that's now lifieen years ago. 
We were to pay 1«. a-inonth ; and sick mem. 
bers Wiro to have 5<. a-week, when they'd 
paid two years. Our otlier rules were the 
same as otlier clubs, I believe. The blind 
musicians now in London are we three ; C— ^ 
a Jew, who plays tlio violin; R — , on Ei^ 
lishman, who plan's tlie violin elegantly; W— ^ 
a harp player; T — > violin again; H — . vio- 
lin (but he plays more in public-houses); 
11 — , the flute; M — , bagpipes; C — , bag-^ 
pipes; K — , \iolin: that's sdl I know my^bL 
There's a good many blind who play at the 
sailors' dances, Wapping and Dcptlbrd way. 
We seldom hire childrun to lead us in the 
streets ; we have plenty of our own, generally 
— I have five 1 Our wives ore generally wo- 
inet; who have Uicir eyesight ; but some blind 
men, — I know one couple, — marry blind 



Bund Iqisii Fife^ 

Of the Irish Pipers, a well-dressed, middle- 
aged man, of good appearance, wearing lar^ 
preen spectacles, led by a young girl, hia 
daughter, gave me Uie following occoimt:— 

" I was eleven years old when I lost zny 
sight from cold, and I was brought up to the 
miujical profession, and practised it several 
years in Ireland, of which country I am ft 
native. I was a man of private property,— 
small property'— and only played occaaionally 



LO}n>ON LABOUR AND TUB LONDON PQOM. 



163 



il die gentle-p«opIe*9 plaoes ; tnd then more 
as a guest — yea, more indeed than profesaion- 
afly. In 1838 I married, and began to give 
cenee rtB regnlariy ; I waa the peiformer, and 
I played only on the union pipes at my con- 
certs. I*m acknowledged to be the best per- 
fonner in the world, even by my own craft, — 
I what seems self-praise. The imion 
are the old Irish pipes improved. In 
ler times there was no chromatic scale; 
DOW we have eight keys to the chanter, which 
produce the chromatic scale as on the flute, 
and so the pipes are improved in the melody* 
nd more particularly in the harmony. We 
have had ^e performers of old. I may men- 
tion Caroll O'Daly, who flourished in the 15th 
eentaiy, and was the composer of the air that 
the Scotch want to steal from us, *]lobin 
Adair,' which is * Alleen ma men,' or ' Ellen, 
ny dear.' My concerts in Ireland answered 
ivy well indeed, but the fimiino reduced me 
10 much that I was fain to got to England 
vith my family, wife and four children ; and 
a this visit I have been disappointed, com- 
pletely so. Now I'm reilucod to play in the 
ftreetj, and make very little by it. I may 
iverage 15jr. in the week in summer, and not 
half tliat in winter. There are many of my 
coantivmen now in England playing the pipes, 
iNxt I don't know one respectable enrmgh to 
lasoeiate with ; so 1 keep to myself, and so I 
eamiot tell how many there are." 

Thi EKGi^n Street Bands. 

CoKCEBXiHG these, a respectable man gave 
me the following details : — 

**I was brought up to the musical pro- 
fesskm. and have been a street-porf«)rmer 'i'i. 
jears, and I'm now only 20. I sang and 
pUjed the guitar in the streets ^^-ith my 
mother when I was four years old. AVe were 
greatly patr<:»nised by the nobility at that time. 
It was a good business when I was a child, 
■i younger brotlier and I would gn out into 
the streets for a few hours of an evening, from 
fiteto eiglit. and make 75. or bs. the two of 
OS. Ours w^as, and in, the highest class of 
itreet music. For the last ten years I have 
been a member of a street band. Our band is 
now four in number. I have been in buiiils 
of eight, aud in some composed of as many as 
W; but a small band answers best f<ir regu- 
larity. With eight in the band it's not easy to 
^35. a^picce on a fine day, and piny all day, 
v^ I consider that there are l(M)i) musicians 
Jww performing in the streets of London ; and 
•s very few play singly, l(h)0 perfonnere. not 
Wioning pfu-sons who play with niggers or 
STuh-like, will give not qiute 2.00 street bands. 
Four in number is a fair average for a street 
^d: but I think the greater number of 
band'i have more than four in them. All the 
better sort of these bands play at concerts, 
Wis, parties, processions, and water excur- 
toi, as well as in the streets. The cUss of 



men in the atreet hands is, very generally, 
those who can't read music, but play by ear ; 
and their being unable to read musio pre- 
vents their obtaining employment in theatres, 
or places where a musical education is 
neoeasary ; and yet numbers of atreet mosi* 
cians (playing by ear) are better instru- 
mentalists than many educated musicians in 
the theatres. I only know a few who have 
left other businesses to become musioians. 
The great minority— lO-aOtlw of us, I should 
Bay — have been brought regularly up to be 
street-performers. Children now are taught 
very early, and seldom leave the profession 
for any other business. Every year the street 
musicians increase. The better sort are, I. 
think, pnident men, and struggle hard for »• 
decent hving. All the street-performers of ■ 
wind instruments are short-lived. Wind per- 
formers drink more, too, than the others. 
They must have then: mouths wet, and they 
need aome stimulant or restorative after 
blowing an hour in the streets. There ore 
now twice as many wind as stiinged instru- 
ments played in the streets ; fifteen or sixteen 
yours ago there used to be more stringed 
instruments. Witliin that time new wind 
instniments have been used in the streets. 
Cornopeans, or cornel- ^-pistons, came into 
vogue about fourteen years ago ; opheicleides 
about ten years ago (I'm speaking of the 
streets) ; and saxhorns about two years since. 
The cornopean has now quite superseded the 
bugle. The worst i)art of tlic street perfor- 
mers, in point of clioracter, are those who 
play l>efore or in public-houses. They drink 
a great deal, but I never heard of them being 
charged with dishonesty. In fact, I believe 
there's no honcster set of men breathing than 
street mufiicians. The better class of musi- 
cians are nearly all married men, and they 
generally dislike to teach their wives music ; 
indeed, in my band, and in similar bands, wc 
wouldn't employ a man who was teaching his- 
wife music, that she might play in the streets,- 
and so be exposed to every insult and eveiy 
temptation, if she's young and pretty. Many 
of the musicians' wives have to work very 
hard ^-ith tlioir needles for tlie slop-shops, and 
eani very little in such employ ; 3«. a-week is 
reckoned good earnings, but it all helps. The 
German bands injure oiu: trade much. They'll 
play for half what we ask. They are very 
mean, feed dirtily, and the best band of them, 
whom I met at Dover, I know slept three in 
a bed in a common lodging-liouse, one (»f the 
verj' lowest. They now block us out of all the 
country places to which we used to go in the 
summer. The German bands have now pos- 
session of the whole coast of Kent and Sussex, 
and wherever there are watering-places. I 
dont know anything about their morals, ex- 
cepting that they don't drink. An English 
street-pi'rformer in a good and respt^ctable 
band will now average 25*. a-week the year 
through. Fifteen years ago he could have 



104 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



made H/. a-week« Inferior performers make 
from 12«. to 15«. a-week. I consider RegenU 
RtroL't nnd such plaooB our Lest pitches. Our 
principal patrons in the parties' line are 
tradesmen and professional men, such as 
attorneys : 10«. a-night is our regular charge." 

The Gebmak Stueet Bands. 

Next come the German Bands. I had the 
following statement from a young flaxen- 
haired and fresh -coloured German, ivho 
spoke English verj' fairly : — 

** I am German, and have been six year in 
zis countn*. I was neariy fourteen when I 
come. I come fh)m Oberl'eld, eighteen miles 
from Hanover. I come because I would like 
to see how it was here. I heard zat London 
was a goot ])lare for foreign music. London 
is as goot a place as I expect to And him. 
There was otlier six come over with me, boys 
and men. We come to Hull, and play in ze 
countiy aKtut half a year; we do middling. 
And zen we come to I/ondon. I didn't moke 
money at first when I come, I had much to 
leam ; but ze band, oh ! it did welL "VVe was 
seven. I play ze clarionet, and so did two 
others ; two jday French horns, one ze tram- 
bone, and one ze saxhorn. Sometime we 
make 7t. or bs. a-piece in a-day now, but tlic 
business is not so goot. I reckon Ot. a-day is 
goot now. We never play ut fairs, nor for 
cara\'ans. We play at private ]>arties or public 
ball-rooms, and are paid so much a dance— 
sixpence a dance for ze seven of us. If zare 
is many dances, it is goot ; if not, it is bad. 
We play sheaper zan ze Knglish, and we don't 
spent so much. Ze English players insult us, 
but we don't care about that. Zcy abuse us 
for playing sheap. I don't know what zoir 
tenus for dances are. I have saved money in 
zis country, but very little of it. I wont to 
save enough to take me back to Hanover. We 
all live togeder, ze seven of us. We have three 
rooms to sleep in, and one to eat in. We ore 
all single men, but onu ; and his wife, a Ger- 
man woman, hves wis us, and cooks for us. 
She and her husband have a bedroom to 
themselves. Anysing does for us to eat. We " 
all join in housekeeping and lodging, and pay ' 
ahke. Our lodging cost^i 2s. a-week each, I 
our board costs us about lft«. a-week each ; 
sometime rather less. But zat include beer ; 
and ze London beer is very goot, and some- ' 
time wo drink a goot deal of it. We drink 
very little gin, but we live ver}- well, and have I 
goot meals every day. We i)lay in ze streets, ' 
and I zink most places are alike to us. Ladies i 
and gentlemen are our best friends ; ze work- , 
ing people give us vei^' Uttle. We play opera ! 
tunes chiefly. We don't associate with any I 
Englishmen. Zare are three pubhc-houses \ 
kept by Germans, where we Germans meet. 
Sugar-bakers and other trades are of ze num- 
ber. There are now Ave German brass-bands, 
with thirty-seven performers in zem, reckon- 



ing our own, in London. Our band lives near 
WhitechapeL I sink zare is one or two vaxan 
German bands in ze countiy. I sink my 
countiymen, some of them, save money ; b^ 
I have not saved much yet.** 

Of the Baofife Platers. 

A wEix-LOOKiNO young man, dressed in fUl 
Highland costume, with modest mannen and 
of slow speech, as if translating his wonb- 
from the Gaelic before lie uttered them, gaf» 
me these details : — 

*' I am a native of Inverness, and a Gmit 
My father was a soldier, and a player in Xtm 
42nd. In my youth I was shepherd in tht 
hills, until my father was tmable to support 
me any longer. He had Od. a-day pension ftr 
seventeen years' service, and had been tbiiee 
wounded. He taught me and my brither the 
pipes ; he was too ]>oor to have us taught any 
trade, so we started on our own accounts. We 
travelled up to London, had only our pipes to 
depcud upon. We came in full Highliad 
dress. The tartan is cheap there, and we mak 
it up oursels. My dress as I sit here, without 
my pipes, would cost about 4/. in Londoo. 
Our mithcrs spin tlie tartan inlnvemess-shixe, 
and the dress comes to maybe SOf., and is 
better thou the London. My pipes cost me 
three guineas new. It's between five and six 
years since I flrst came to London, and I was 
twenty-four last November. Wlien I started, 
I thought of making a fortune in London; 
tliere was such great talk of it in Inverness- 
shire, as a fine place with plenty of money ; bml 
when I came I found the difference. I was 
rather a novelty at first, and did pretty well 
I could make 1/. a- week then, but now I cant 
make 2s. a-day. not even in summer. Then 
are so many Irishmen going about LondoDi 
and dressed as Scotch Highlanders, that I 
really think I could do better as a piper even 
ill Scotland. A Scotch family will sometimes 
give me a shilling or two when they find out 
I am a Scotchman. Chelsea is my best place, 
where there are many Scotchmen. There art 
now only five real Scotch Highlanders playing 
tlie bagpipes in the streets of London, and 
seven or eight Irishmen tliat I know of. The 
Irishmen do better than I do, because they 
have more face. We have our own rooms. I 
pay 4j. a-week for an empty room, and have 
my ain furniture. We are all married men, 
and have no connexion with any other street 
musicians. ' Tullochgorum,' ' Mone^'musk,' 
The Campbells are comin',' and * Lord Mac- 
donald's Keel,' are among the performanoes 
best liked in Loudon. Tm very seldom insulted 
in the streets, and then mostly by being called 
an Irishman, which I don't like ; but I pass it 
off just as well as I can." 

SCOTCU PiPEB AND DaNCIKO-GiXIL. 

** I WAS full corporal in the 03rd Southern 
Highlanders, and I can get the best of chi^ 



Z^NDON LABOVR AND THE LONDON POOR, 



105 



from my eomnianding oflSoen. If I 
get a good character I wouldn't be 
to the colonel ; and wherever he and 
' went, I was sure to be with th^n. 
h I used to wear the colonel's livery, 
id the full corporal's stripes on my 
was first orderiy to Colond Sparkes 
3rd. He belonged to Dublin, and 
lie best colonel that ever belonged to 
ent. After he died I was orderly to 
Aynsley. This shows I must have 
;ood man, and have a good character. 
Aynsley was a good Mend to me, and 
ra gave me my clothes, like his other 
icrvants. The orderly's post is a good 
i much sought after, for it exempts 
n regimental duty. Colonel Aynsley 
evere man on duty, but he was a good 
after aU. If he wasn't to be a severe 
wouldn't be able to discharge the post 

discharge. Off duty be was as kind 
)dy could be. There was no man he 
ore than a dirty soldier. He wouldn't 
a man for being drunk, not a quar- 
nach as for dirty clothing. I was 

1 the cleanest soldier in the regiment; 
ras out in a shower of rain, I'd polish 
brass and pipeclay my belt, to make 
ean again. Besides, I was very supple 
tve, and many's the time Colonel 
has sent me on a message, and I have 
sre and back, arid when I've met him 
olded me for not having gone, for 
h&£k so quick he thought I hadn't 

list I was in the regiment I was at- 
irith blindness; brought on, I think. 
There was a deserter, that the po- 
took up and brought to our barracks 
Ion, where the Odrd was stationed in 
[t was very wet weather, and he was 

in without a stitch on him, in a pair 
hes and a miserable shirt — that's all. 

away two years, but he was always 
ked. No deserters ever escape. We 
kit up for this man in less than twenty 
!. One gave him a kUt, another a coat, 
^ye him the shoes off ray feet, and 
nt to the regiment stores and got me 

pair. Soldiers always help one an- 
it's their duty to such a poor, miserable 
as he was. 

is deserter was tried by court-martial, 
got thirty-one days in prison, and hard 

He'd have had three months, only 
3 himself up. He was so weak with 
It, that the doctor wouldn't let him be 
. He'd have had sixty lashes if he'd 
rong. Ah ! sixty is nothing. I've seen 
adred and fifty given. When this man 
arched off to Warwick gaol I com- 
i the escort, and it was a very severe 
lin that day, for it kept on from six in 
>ming till twelve at night. It was a 
-one miles* march ; and wo started at 

the morning, and arrived at Warwick 



by four in the afternoon. The prisoner was 
made to march the distance in the same clothes 
as when he gave himself up. He had only 
a shirt and waistcoat on his back, and that' 
got so wet, I took off my greatcoat and gave 
it to him to wear to warm him. They 
wouldn't let him have the kit of clothes made 
up for him by the regiment tiU he came 
out of prison. From giving him my great- 
coat I caught a severe cold. I stood up by a 
public-house fire and dried my coat and lolt, 
and the cold flew to the small of my back. 
After we had delivered our prisoner at War- 
wick we walked on to Coventry — that^s ten 
miles more. We did thirty-one miles that day 
in the rain. After we got back to barracks I 
was clapped in hospital. I was there twenty- 
one days. The doctor told me I shouldn't 
leave it for twenty-eight days, but I left it in 
twenty.one, for I didn't like to be in that same 
place. My eyes got very blood-shot, and I 
lost the sight of them. I was very much afraid 
that I'd never see a sight with my eyes, and 
I was most miserable. I used to be, too, all 
of a tremble with a shiver of cold. I only 
stopped in the regiment for thirty-one days 
after I came out of hospital, and then I had 
my discharge. I could just see a little. It 
was my own fault that I had my discharge^ 
for I thought I could do better to cure myself 
by going to the country doctors. The men 
subscribed for me all the extra money of 
their pay, — ^that's about 4<i. each man, — and it 
made me up 10/. Wlien I told Colonel Ayns- 
ley of this, says he, * Upon my word, M'Oregor, 
I'm as proud of it as if I had 20,000/.' He 
gave me a sovereign out of his own pocket. 
Besides that, I had as many kilts given me as 
have lasted mo up to this time. My boy is 
wearing the last of 'em now. 

" At Oxford I went to a doctor, and he did 
me a deal of good ; for now I can read a book, 
if the thread of it isn't too smalL I can read 
the Prayer-book, or Bible, or newspaper, just 
for four hours, and then I go dim. 

*' I've served in India, and I was at the bat- 
tles of Punjaub, 1848, and Moultan, 1849. Sir 
Colin Campbell commanded us at both, and 
says he, * Now, my brave 03rd, none of your 
nonsense here, for it must be death and glory 
here to-day ; ' and then Serjeant Cameron says, 
* The men arc all right, Sir Colin, but they're 
afr^d you won't bo in the midst of them ; ' 
and says ho, * Not in the midst of them ! I'll 
be here in ten minutes.' Sir Colin will go 
in anywhere ; he's as brave an officer as any 
in the service. He's the first into the fight and 
the last out of it. 

" Although I had served ten years, and been 
in two battles, yet I was not entitled to a 
pension. You must serve twenty-one years to 
be entitled to 1». 0\d. I left the 93rd in ISfla, 
and since that time I've been vrandering about 
the different parts of England and Scotland, 
playing on the bagpipes. I take my daughter 
I Maria about with me, and she dances idiilst 



166 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



I play to her. I leave my wife and family 
in town. I^•e been in London three weeks 
this last time I visited it. I've been here plenty 
of times before. I've done duty in Hyde- 
Park before the 46th came here. 

** 1 left the army just two years before the 
war broke out, and I'd rather than twenty 
thousand pounds I'd been in my liealth to 
have gone to the Crimea, for I'd have had 
more gloiy after that war than ever any Eng- 
land was in. Directly I found the 03rd was 
going out, I went twice to try and get back to 
my old rei^iment ; but the doctor inspected me, 
and said I wouldn't be fit for service again. I 
was too old at the time, and my health wasn't 
good, although I could stand the cold far 
better than many htmdreds of them that were 
out there, for I never wear no drawers, only 
my kilt, and that very thin, for it's near worn. 
Nothing at all gives me cold but the rain. 

**The last time I was in London was in 
May. My daughter dances the Highland fling 
and the sword-dance called * Killim Callam.' 
That's the right Highland air to the dance — 
with two swords laid across each other. I 
was a good hand at it before I got stiff. I've 
done it before all the regiment We'd take 
two swords from the officers and lay them 
down when they've been newly ground. I've 
gone within the eighth of an inch of them, and 
never cut my shoe. Can you cut your shoes? 
aye, and your toes, too, if you're not lithe. 
My brother was the best dancer in the army : 
80 the Duke of Argyle and his lady said. At 
one of the prize meetings at Blair Athol, one 
Tom Duff, who is as good a dancer as from 
this to where he is, says he, ' There's ne'er a 
man of the Maceregor clan can dance against 
me to-dc^ ! ' and I, knowing my brother Tom 
— ^he was killed at Inkermann in the 03rd — was 
coming, says I, * Dont be sure of that, Tom 
Duff, for Uiere's one come every inch of the 
road here to-day to try it with you.' He began, 
and he took an inch off his shoes, and my 
brother ne\'cr cut himself at all ; and ho won 
the prize. 

**My little girl dances that dance. She 
does it pretty, but I'd be rather doubtful 
about letting her come near the swords, for 
fear she'd be cutting herself, though I know 
she could do it at a pinch, for she can be 
dancing across two baccy-pipes without break- 
ing them. When I'm in the streets, she al- 
ways does it with two baccy-pipes. She con 
dance reels, too, such as the Highland fling 
and the reel Hoolow. They're the most cele- 
brated. 

•* Whenever I go about the country I leave 
my wife and family in London, and go off with 
my girl. I send Uiem up money every week, 
according to what I earn. Eveiy farthing 
that I can spare I always send up. 1 always, 
when I'm travelling, make the first part of my 
journey down to HiUl in Yorkshire. On my 
road I always stop at garrison towns, and they 
always behave very well to me. If theyVe a 



penny they'll give it to me, either English, 
Scotch, or Irish regiments ; or I'd as soon, 
meet the 2:Jd Welsh FusUiers as any, for 
they've all been out with me on service. At 
Hull tliere is a large garrison, and I always 
reckon on getting 3s. or 4«. from the barrackg. 
When I'm travelling, it generally comes to 
15«. a- week, and out of that I manage to seal 
the wife 10s. and live on xM» myself. I hare 
to walk all the way, for I wouldn't sit on a rail 
or a cart for fear I should lose the little vil- 
lages off tlic road. I con do better in maaj 
of them than I can in many of the laiga 
towns. I tell them I am an old soldier. I 
don't go to the cottages, but to the gentle- 
men's houses. Many of the gentlemen have 
been in the army, and then they soon tall 
whether I have been in service. Some haie 
asked me tlie stations I have been at^ and 
who commanded us; and then theyll saj, 
' This man is true enough, and every word of 
it is truth.' 

" I\e been in Balmoral many a dozen of 
times. Many a time I've passed l^ it when it 
was an old ruin, and fit for nothing but tbo 
ravens and the owla. Balmoral is the fomUi 
oldest place in Scotland. It was built be£aio 
any parts of Christianity came into the countij 
at alL I've an old book that gives an acoooDt 
of all the old buildings entirely, and a veiy old 
book it is. Edinbro' Castle is the oldait 
building, and then Stirling Castle, and yhm 
Perth Castle, and then BiJmoraL I've booD 
there twice since the Queen was there. If Td 
see any of the old officers that I knew at IWl^ 
moral, I'd play then, and they might give ae 
something. I went tliere more for cnrioa^ 
and I went to see the Queen come out Sia 
was always very fond of the 03rd. Tbc/d 
fight for her in any place, for there iant a mn 
discharged after this war but they're providii 
for. 

'* I do pretty well in London, taking my 4i. 
a-day, but out of that I must pay Ii. ^d, a- weak 
lodging-money, for I can't go into aportmeDti, 
for if I did it would be but poorly fumishcdL 
for IVe no beds, or furniture, or linen. 

** I can live in Scotland much cheaper than 
here. I can give the children a good breakfitft 
of oatmeal-porridge every morning, and that 
will in seven weeks make them as fat as seven 
years of tea and coffee will do here. Beaidei^ 
in Scotland, I can buy a very pretty littla 
stand-up bedstead for 2s., which here would 
come to 4s. I'm thinking of sending my familj 
down to Scotland, and sending them the mon^ 
I earn in London. They'll have to walk to 
Hull and then take iha boat They can get 
to Aberdeen from there. We shall have to 
work the money on the road. 

*' When I go outworking with the little gLd» 
I get out about nine in the summer and ten in 
the winter. I can't work much more than four 
hours a-day on the pipes, for the blowing 
knocks me up and leaves me very weak. Ko^ 
it don't hurt my cheat, but I'll be just qoito 



-**- 



LONDON LABOVR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



1C7 



weak. Tbat*s ijrom my bad health. I've never 
hid a day's health ever since I left the re(^- 
ment. I have pains in my back and stitches 
in the side. My girl can't danco witlioui luy 
playing, so that when I give over slie must 
gite over too. I sometimes go out v-ith two 
•of my daughters. Lizzy don't dance, only 
Mario. I never ox anybody for moufjy. Any- 
body that don't like to give we never ax them. 

•* I can't eat meat, for it won't rest <.>u my 
stomach, and there's nothing I take that procs 
BO well with me as soup. 1 live principally on 
bread, for coffee or tea won't do for mo at nil. 
If I coold get a bit of meat that Hike, sucli as 
t small fowl, or the like of that, it would do 
with me very well ; but either bacon or beef, or 
the like of that, is too strong for me. I'm 
obliged to be very careful entirely with what I 
eat for I'm sick. A lady gave me a bottle of 
fOOii old foreign port about three months ago, 
ind I thought it did me more good than all 
the meat in the world. 

*' IVhen I'm in London I make about 4s. 
ft^ay, and when I'm in the countiy about 155. 
h-ntA. My old lady couldn't live when I 
^Td if it wasn't for my boy, who goes out and 
|eta about Is. a-day. Lord Paumure is veiy 
good to bim, and gives him something when- 
ever he meets lum. I wouldn't get such 
good health if I stopped in London. Now 
there's Bamet, only eleven miles from St. 
Giles's, and yet I can get better health in Lon- 
don than I can there, on account of it's being 
CD lam^ ground and firesh air ooming into it 
evHy minute. 

"I never be a bit bad with the cold. It 
aefcr makes me bad. Pve l)een in Canada 
vHh the 93d in the winter. In the year '43 
WM a Teiy fearful winter indeed, and we were 
there, and the men didn't seem to suffer any- 
ffamg from the cold, but were just as well as 
IB any other climate or in England. They 
wore the kilt and the same dress as in sum- 
aer. Some of them wore the tartan trow. 
een when they were not on duty or parade, 
bat the most of them didn't — not one in a 
dozen, for they looked upon it as like a woman. 
There's nothing so good for the cold as cold 
water. The men used to bathe their knees and 
less in the cold water, and it would make them 
ame for the time, but a minute or two after- 
wards they were all right and sweating. I've 
suiDy a time gone into the water up to my 
aeck in the coldest du^-s of the year, and tlien 
when I came out and dried myself, and put 
on my clothes, I'd be sweating afterwards. 
There can't be a better thing for keeping awny 
the rheumatism. It's a fine thing for rheu- 
matism and aches to rub the pait with cold 
frosty water or snow. It makes it leave him 
sod knocks the pains out of his limbs. Now, 
in London, when my hands are so cold I can't 
play on my pipes, I go to a pump and wash 
them in the frosty water, and then diy them 
ind rub them to;?other, and then they're as 
^wm as ever. The more a man leans to Uie 



fire the worse he is after. It was leaning to a 
fire that gave me my illness. 

'• The chanter of the pipes I play on has 
boen in luy family very near 450 years. It's 
tlic oldest in ^Scotland, and is a heir-loom in 
our family, and they wouldn't part witli it for 
any money. Many's a time the Museum in 
Edinburgh has wanted me to give it to them, 
but I won't give it to any one till I find my- 
self near death, and tlien I'll obligate them to 
keep it. Most likely my youngest son will 
have it, for he's as steady as a man. You see, 
the holes for the fingers is worn as big round 
as sixpences, and they're quite sharp at the 
edges. The ivory at the end is the same 
original piece as when the pipe was made. It's 
breaking and spUtting witli age, and so is tho 
stick. I'll have my name and the age of tho 
stick engraved on the solo of the ivoiy, and 
then, if my boy seems neglectful of the chanter, 
111 give it to the Museum at Edinburgh. I'll 
have German silver rings put round the sticlc, 
to keep it together, and then, with nice waxed 
thread bound round it, it will lost for centuries 
yet 

*• This chanter was made by old William 
McDonnoll, who's been dead these many hun- 
dred years. He was one of the best pipe- 
makers that's in all Scotland. There's a 
brother of mine has a set of drones made by 
him, and he wouldn't give them for any sit 
of money. Everybody in Scotland knows 
William McDonnall. Ask any lad, and he'll 
tell you who was the best pipe-maker that ever 
Uved in Scotland — aye, and ever will live. 
There's many a farmer in Scotland would give 
30/. for a set of pipes by old William McBonnall, 
sooner than they'd give 30«. for a set of pipes 
made now. This chanter has been in our 
family ever since McDonnall made it. It's 
been handed down fVom father to son from 
tliat day to this. They always give it to tho 
eldest. William McDonnall Uved to be 143 
years old, and this is the last chanter he made. 
A gentleman in London, who makes chanters, 
once pave me a new one, merely for letting 
him take a model of my old one, with the size 
of the bore and the place for the holes. You 
tell a good chanter hy tho tone, and some is 
as sweet as a piano. My old chanter has got 
rather too sharp by old age, and it's lost its 
tone ; for when a stick gets too sharp a sound, 
it's never no good. This chanter was played 
by my family in the battles of Wallace and 
Bruce, and at the battle of Bannockbum, and 
oveiy place whenover any of the Macgregor 
clan fought. These are tho traditions given 
from family to family. I heard it IVom my 
father, and now I tell my lads, and they know 
it as well as I do myself. My groot grand- 
father played on this stick when Charley 
Stuart, the Pretender, came over to Scotland 
from France, and he played on it before the 
Prince himself, at Stirling and the Island of 
Skye, and at Preston Pans and Culloden. It 
was at Preston Pans that tlio clans were first 



168 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



fonned, and conld be told by their tartans — the 
Macgregors, and the Stuart, and the Macbeths, 
and the Camerons, and all of them. I had 
three brothers older than me, but I've got this 
chanter, for I begged it of them. It's getting 
too old to play on, and I'll have a copper box 
made for it, and just cany it at my side, if 
God is good to me, and gives me health to live 
three weeks. 

** About my best friends in London are the 
French people, — they are the best I can meet, 
they come next to the Highlanders. When I 
meet a Highlander he will, if he's only just a 
labouring man, give me a few coppers. A 
Highlander will never close his eye upon me. 
It's the Lowlander that is the worst to me. 
They never takes no notice of me when I'm 
passing: they'll smile and cast an eye as I 
pass by. Many a time I'll say to them when they 
pass, * Well, old chap, you don't like the half- 
naked men, I know you don't!' and many 
will say, * No, I dont!* I never play the 
pipes when I go through the Lowlands, — I'd 
as soon play poison to them. They never give 
anything. It's the Lowlanders that get the 
Scotch a bad name for being miserable, and 
keeping their money, and using small provi- 
sion. The^rYe a disgrace to their country. 

^ The Highlander spends his money as free 
ai a duke. If a man in the 93rd had a shil- 
ling in his pocket, it was gone before he could 
turn it twice. AU the Lowlanders would like 
to be Highlanders if they could, and they learn 
Gaelic, and then marry Highland lassies, so as 
to become Highlanders. They have some 
clever regiments composed out of the Low- 
landers, but they have only three regiments 
and the Highlanders have seven ; yet there's 
nearly three to one more inhabitants in the 
Lowlands. It's a strange thing, they'd sooner 
take an Irishman into a Highland regiment 
than a Lowlander. They owe them such a 
spleen, they don't like them. Bruce was a 
Lowlander, and he betrayed Wallace ; and the 
Duke of Bucdeuch, who was a Lowlander, 
betrayed Stuart. 

** I never go playing at public-houses, for I 
don't like such places. I am not a drinker, 
for as much whisky as will fill a teaspoon will 
lay me up for a day. If I take anything, it's a 
sup of porter. I went once into a public-house, 
and there was a woman drinking m it, and she 
was drunk. It was the landlord told me to 
come inside. She told mo to leave the house, 
and I said the master told me to come : then 
she took up one of these pewter pots and hit 
me in the forehead. It was very sore for three 
weeks afterwards, and made a hole. I 
wouldn't prosecute her. 

** My little boy that goes about is fourteen 
years old, and he's as straight and well-formed 
as if he was made of wax- work. He's the one 
that shall have the chanter, if anybody does ; 
but I'm rather doubtful about it, for he's not 
steady enough, and I think I'll leave it to a 
museum. 



*< If Thad a good set of pipes, there's not 
many going about the streets could play better ; 
but my pifes are not in good order. I've got 
three tunes for one that the Queen's piper 
plays ; and I can pley in a far superior style, 
for he plays in the military style. McKay, 
the former piper to her msgesty, he was reck- 
oned as good a player as there is in Seotland. 
I knew him very wdl, and many and many a 
time I've played with him. He was took 
bad in the head and obliged to go back to 
Scotland. He is in the Isle of Sl^e now. I 
belong to Peterhead. If I had a good set of 
pipes I wouldn't be much afraid of playing 
with any of the pipers. 

" In the country towns I would sometime! 
be called into Highland gentlemen's housesi 
to play to them, but never in London. 

" I make all my reeds mjrself to put in the 
stick. I make them of Spanish cane. It'i 
the outer glazed bark of it. The nearer yon 
go to the shiny part, the harder the reed is, 
and the longer it lasts. In Scotland they use 
the Spanish cane. I have seen a man, at one 
time, who made a reed out of a piece of white 
thorn, and it sounded as well as ever a reed I 
saw sound ; but I never see a man who could 
make them, only one.** 

Anotheb Bagfife Pulyeh, 

'< My father is a Highlander, and wu bom in 
Argyllshire, and there, when he was 14 or 
15, he enlisted for a piper into the 02nd. 
They wear the national costume in that 
regiment — the Campbell tartan. Father 
married whilst he was in Scotland. We are 
six in family now, and my big brother is 17, 
and I'm getting on for 15 — a little better 
than 14. Wo and another brother of 10^ 
all of us, go about the streets playing the bag- 
pipes. 

*^ Father served in India. It was after I 
was bom (and so was my other brother of 10) 
that the regiment was ordered over there.. 
Mother came up to England to see him off, 
and she has stopped in London ever since. 
Father lost a leg in the Punjaub war, and now 
ho receives a pension of \s, a-day. Mother 
had a very bad time of it whilst father was 
away; I don't know the reason why, but 
father didn't send her any money. All her 
time was taken up looking after us at homei 
so she couldn't do any work. The parish 
allowed her some money. She used to go 
for some food every week. I can remember 
when wo were so hard up. We lived prin- 
cipally on bread and potatoes. At last mother 
told Jim he had better go out in the streets 
and play the bagpipes, to see what he could 
pick up. Father hod left some pipes behind 
him, small ones, what he learnt to play upon. 
Jim wasn't dressed up in the Highland cos- 
tume as he is now. He did very well the first 
time he went out; lie took obout 10#. or so. 
>Vhen mother saw that she was very pleased, 




"OLD SARAH," THE WELL-KNOWN HUKDY-GUKDY PLAYER. 

[From a Dagutmotypt hy Bkaiid.] 



LONDON LABOUR ANJ> THE LONDON POOR. 



16U 



«Dd thought she had the Bank of England 
tambled into her lap. Jim continued going 
out every day until father came home. After 
father lost his leg he came home again. He 
hu<l been absent about eighteen months. The 
pipers always go into action with the xegi- 
inent. TNlien they are going into the field 
thev ploy in front of the regiment, bat when 
the fighting begins they go to the side. He 
never talks about his wound. I never heard 
him talk about it beyond just what I've said ; 
as to how they go into war and play the regi- 
ment into the field. I never felt much cariosity 
u> ask him about it, for I'm out all d^y long and 
until about 10 o'clock at night, and whan I 
get home I'm too tired to talk ; I never think 
iboot asking him how he was wounded. 

^^When father aame home from India he 
brought 10/. with him. He didn't get his 
pension not till he got his medal, and that 
VBS a good while after — about a year after, I 
should say. This war they gave the pension 
directly they got home, but the other war they 
didn't. Jim still continued pl^ying in the 
streets. Then father made him a Highland 
suit out of his old regimentals. He did better 
then; indeed he one day brought home a 
pound, and never less than five, or nine or ten, 
shillings. Next, father made mo a suit, and 
I used to go out with Jim and dance the fling 
to his bagpipes. I usen't to take no carx>et 
with me, but dance in the middle of the road. 
I wear father's regimental-belt to this day, 
only he cut it dowu smaller for me. Here's 
his number at the end of it, 62, and the dftte, 
1834 — so it's twenty-two years old, and it's 
strong and good now, only it's been white 
huff leather, and my father's blacked it We 
didn't take much more money going out 
together, but we took it quicker and got home 
sooner. Besides, it was a help to mother to 
get rid of me. We still took about lOs. a-day, 
bat it got lesser and lesser after a time. It 
was a couple of years after we come out that 
it got lesser. People got stingier, or perhaps 
they was accustomed to see us, and was 
tired of the dancing. ^Vhilst I was doing the 
dancing, father, when I got home of a night, 
used to teach mo the bagpipes. It took me 
more than twelve months to learn to pli^. 
Now I'm reckoned a middling player. 

'*When I could play I went out with my 
big brother, and we played together ; we did 
the times both together. No, I didn't do a 
bass, or anything of that; we only played 
loader when we was together, and so made 
more noise, and so got more attention. In 
the day-time we walked along the streets 
playing. We did better the two playing 
together than when I danced. Sometimes 
gentlemen would tell ns to come to their 
houses and play to 'em. We've often been to 
Genoral Campbell's and played to him, whilst 
he was at dinner sometimes, or sometimes 
^SXet, We had dt. or half-a-soveieign, ac- 
cording to the time we stopped there. There 



was about six or seven gentlemen like this, 
and we go to their houses and play for them. 
We get from one shilling to five for each visit. 
When we go inside and play to them it's 
never less than 6t. They are all Scotch 
gentlemen that we go to see, but we have 
done it for one Englishman, but he's the only 
one. 

^When my little brother John was old 
enough to go out, father made him a Highland 
suit, and then he went out along with my big 
brother and danced to his playing, and I 
went out by myself. I did pretty well, but 
not so well as when I was with Jim. We 
neither did so well as when we were together, 
but putting both our earnings together we 
did better, for the two separated took more 
than Uie two joined. 

*< My little sister Mary has been out with 
me for the last month. Father made her a 
suit It's a boy's, and not a girl's costume, 
and she goes along with me. Whilst I play, 
she goes up to ladies and gentlemen and aski 
for the money. They generally give her 
something. She never says anyUiing, only 
makes a bow and holds out her little hand. 
It was fiiUier^s notion to send her out He 
said, * She mi^ as well go out with one of 
you as be stopping at home.' She stops out 
as long as I do. She doesn't get tired, at 
least she never tells me she is. I alw^ya 
cany her home at night on my back. She is 
eight years old, and very fond of me. I hoy 
her cakes as we go along. We dine anywhere 
we can. We have bread and cheese, and 
sometimes bread and meat Besides, she's 
veiy often called over and given something to 
eat I've got regular houses where they 
alwiqrs give me dinner. There's one in 
£aton<place where the servants are Seoteh, 
and at the Duke of Argyle's, out Kensinffton 
way, and another at York-terrace, Camden- 
town. It's generally firom Scotch servants I 
get the food, except at the Duke's, and he 
orders me a dinner whenever I come that 
way. It ain't the Lowland Scotch give me 
the food, only the Highland Scotch. High- 
landers don't talk with a drawl, only Low- 
landers. I can tell a Highlander in a minute. 
I spMk a few words of Gaelic to him. 

** So you see I never have occasion to buy 
my dinner, unless Pm out at a place where I 
am too far to go, but I generally work up to 
my eating places. 

** It's a^ut three years now since I've been 
out playing the pipe. Jim and Johnny go 
together, and I go with Mary. Between the 
two we take about St. a-day, excepting on 
Saturdays. I get home by ten, and have sup- 
per and then go to bed; but Jim he some- 
times doesn't come till very late, about one in 
the morning. At night we generally go down 
to the Haymarket, and play before the public- 
houses. The ladies and gentlemen both give 
us money. We pick up more at night-time , . 
than in the day, Somerofttegizk then make ^ 



170 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOSL 



the gentlemen give us money. They'll say, 
* Give the little fellow a penny.* The highest 
I ever had given me at one time was a Scotch 
lady at a hotel in Jermyn-street, and she gave 
me a sovereign. I've often had half-a-crown 
give me in the Haymarket. It's always from 
Scotch gentlemen. English have given me a 
shilling, but never more ; and nearly aU we 
take is from Scotch people. Jim says the 
same thing, and I always found it so. ^ 

** I've had a whole mob round me listening. 
Some of them will ask for this tune, and some 
for that I play all Scotch tunes. *The 
Campbells are coming' is the chief air they 
like. Some ask for Uie *Loch Harbour no 
more/ That's a sentimental air. ' The High- 
land Fling/ that is very popular; * Money 
Musk,' and the * Miss Drummond of Perth' 
is another they like veiy much. Another 
great favourite is * Maggie Lauder.' That's a 
song. When I play in a gentleman's room I 
don't put the drone on, but only play on the 
chanter, or what you would call the flute part 
of it. I cut off the drone, by putting the 
finger in the tall pipe that stands up against 
the shoulder, which we call the drone pipe. 
The wind goes up there ; and if you stop it 
up, it don't sound. A bagpipes has got five 
pipes — the chanter, the drone pipe, the two 
tenor pipes, and the blow-stick, through which 
you send the wind into the bag, which is of 
sheep-skin, covered with green baize. Eveiy 
set of pipes is all alike. That's the true 
Highland pipe. When I'm playing in the 
streets I put the drone on, and I can lie 
heard miles off. I've very often had a horse 
shy at me. He won't pass me sometimes, or 
if they do, they shy at me. 

** I got the reeds which go inside my pipes, 
and which make the noise, from the Duke of 
Argyle's piper. He's a good friend to me, and 
veiy fond of me. They're made of thin pieces 
of split cane, and it's the wind going through 
them that makes them jar and give the music. 
Beforo I play, I have to wet them. They last 
mo six or seven months, if I take care of 
them. The Duke of Argyle's piper never 
grumbles when I go for new ones. When I 
fCo to liim he makes me play to him, to see 
how I've got on with my music. He's a 
splendid player, and plays from books. I 
play by ear. His pipes are of ebony, and with 
a sUver chanter or flute-pipe. He plays every 
day to the Duke while he's at dmner. My 
pipes are made out of cocoa-nut wood. 

•*I know the Duke very well. He's very 
kind to his clau. He's Campbell clan, and so 
am I. He never spoke to me ; but he told 
the servants to give me dinner eveiy time I 
came that way. The sen'ants told me the 
Duke had promised me my dinner every time 
I como. When I touch my bonnet, he always 
nods to me. He never gave me only a shil- 
ling once, but always my dinner. That's better 
for me. 

'* I wear the regular Highland costume, but 



I don't wear the Gimpbell plaid, only the 
Stuart, because it's cheaper. My kilt atnt a 
regular one, because it's too dear for me. In 
a soldier's kilt it's reckoned there's thirty-two 
yards ; mine has only got two and a half. My 
philibeg ought by rights to be of badgers' skhi» 
with a badger's head on the top, and with tassds 
set in brass caps; but my philibeg is only 
sheep-skin. The centre is made up to look like 
the real one. Father makes all our clothes. 
He makes the jackets, and the belts even, 
down to the German silver buckles, with the 
slide and the tip. He cuts them out of sheet 
metal. He casts our buttons, too, in pewter. 
They are square ones, you see, with a High- 
lander on them. He mokes our shoes, too, 
with the little buckle in front Mother knits 
the stockings. They are mixed — ^red and blue 
mixed. I wear out about three a-year. She 
makes about twelve pairs a-year for us all. 
We buy our tartan and our bonnets, but make 
the pewter thistles at the side and the brooch 
which fastens the scarf on one shoulder. A 
suit of clothes lasts about twelve months, so 
that father has to make four suits a-year for 
us all ; that is for Jim, myself, Johnny, and 
Mary. The shoes last, with repairing, twelve 
months. There's twenty buttons on each 
coat. Father has always ^ot something to do, 
repairing our clothes. He's not able to go 
out for his log, or clso he'd po out himself; 
and he'd do well playing, for lie's a first-rate 
piper, but not so good as the Duke's. 

" We go about with our bare legs, and no 
drawers on. I never feel cold of my legs; 
only of my fingers, with playing. I never go 
cold in the legs. None of the Hijirhlanders 
ever wear drawers ; and none but the rich in 
Scotland wear stock! ngi« and shoes, so that 
their legs are altogether bare. 

" When I'm marching through the streets, 
and playing on the pipes, I alwaj-s carry my 
head high up in the air, and throw my legs 
out well. The boys will follow for miles — 
some of them. The children vcrj- often lose 
theirselves from followng mo such a way. 
Even when I haven't my pipes with me the 
boys will follow me in a mob. I've never 
been ill-treated by boys, but a dnmken man, 
often on a Saturday night, gives me a pii<h 
or a knock. You see, thev'U bogin dancing 
around mc, and then a mob will collect, and 
that sets the police unto me ; so I always jday 
a slow tune when drunken men come up, and 
then they can't dance. The>''ll ask for a 
quick tune, and as I won't play one, they'll 
hit me or push me about. The police never 
interfere unless a mob collects, and then 
they are obliged, by their regulations, to in- 
terfere. 

" I never carried a dirk, or a sword, or any 
thing of that. My brother used to have one 
in his stocking; but one day he wjus called 
up into a public house, where there was a lot 
of French butlers and footmen, and they 
would have him to play ; and when he had 



LONDON LABOVB AND THE LONDON POOR. 



171 



ibr some time they began to pull him about, 
and they broke his pipes and snapped the 
chanter in two; so Jim pulled out Ms dirk, 
and they got frightened. Tbey tried to take 
it from him, but they oouldn't. He's a bold 
fellow, and would do anything when he's in a 
passion. He'd have stuck one of the French 
fellows if he could. When father heard of it 
he took the dirk away, for fear Jim should get 
into mischief. 

** When I've been playing the pipes for long 
I get very thirsty. It's continually blowing 
into the bag. I very seldom go and get any 
beer ; only at dinner half-a-pint. I go to a pump 
and have a drink of water. At first it made 
me feel sick, blowing so much; but I very 
soon got used to it. It always made me feel 
very hungry, blowing all day long ; I could 
eat every two or three hours. It makes your 
eves very weak, from the strain on them. 
^^Tien I tirst went out with my brother, play- 
ing, I used to have to leave off every now and 
then and have a rest, for it made my head 
ache. The noise doesn't atfect the hearing, 
nor has it Jim : but my father's quite deaf of 
the left ear, where the drones goes. I never 
have the drones on, only very seldom. When 
I have them on I can't hear anything for a 
few seconds after I leave off playing. 

** Sometimes, of wet nights, 1 go into public- 
houses and play. Some publicans won't let you, 
for the instrument is almost too loud for a room. 
If there's a Scotchman in the tap-room he'll 
give me something. I do well when there's 
good company. I only go there when it rains, 
tor my usual stand of an evening is in the 
Haymarket. 

•* The bagpipes I play on were sent from 
Edinburgh. Father wrote for them, and they 
eost 30s. They are the cheapest made. There 
are some sets go as high as a 100/. They are 
mounted with gold and silver. The Duke of 
Axgyle's piper must have paid 100/. for his, 
I should say, for they are in silver. The bag 
is covered with velvet and silk fringe. There's 
eight notes in a long pipes. You can't play 
them softly, and they must go their own 
Ibrce. 

<< I know all those pipers who regular goes 
about pla3ring the pipes in London. There's 
only four, with me and my brother — ^two men 
and us two. Occasionally one may pass 
through London, but they don't stop here 
more than a day or two. I know lots of them 
who are travelling about the country. There's 
about twenty in aJl. I take about L')s. a- week, 
and Jim does the same. That's clear of all 
expenses, such as for dinner, and so on. We 
sometimes take more, but it's very odd that 
we seldom has a good week both of us to- 
gether. If he has a good week, most likely 
I don't. It comes, taking all the year round, 
to about 15«. a-week each. We both of us 
give whatever we may earn to father. We 
never go out on a Sunday. Whenever I can 
get home by eight o'clock I go to a night- 



school, and I am getting on pretty well with 
my reading and writing. Sometimes I don't 
go to school for a week together. It's gene- 
rally on the Wednesday and Thursday nightS' 
that I can get to school, for they are the 
worst nights for working in the streets. Our 
best nights are Saturday and Monday, and 
then I always take about 5«. Tuesday it comes 
to about ds. ; but on Wednesday, and Thurs- 
day, and Friday, it don't come to more than 
2«. 6(/. ; that's if I am pretty lucky ; but some 
nights I don't take above (Sd, ; and that's how 
I put it down at 15s. a-week, taking the year 
round. Father never says anything if I don't 
take any money home, for he knows I've been 
looking out for it : but if he thought I'd been 
larking aud amusing myself, most likely he'd 
be savage." 

French Hurdy-oubdy Playeb, with 
DAKciNa Children. 

*' I FLAT on the same instrument as the Savoy- 
ards play, only, you understand, you can have 
good and bad instruments; and to have a 
good one you must put the price. The 
one I play on cost me 60 francs in Paris. 
There arc many more handsome, but none 
better. This is all that there is of the best. 
The man who made it has been dead sixty 
years. It is the time that makes the valu* 
of it. 

"My wife plays on the violin. She is a 
veiy good player. I am her second husband. 
She is an Italian by birth. She played on the 
violin when she ^was with her first husband. 
He used to accompany her on the organ, and 
that produced a very fine effect. 

" The hurdy-gurdy is like the violin — it im- 
proves with age. My wife told me that she 
once played on a very old violin, and the dif- 
ference between that and her own was curious 
for sound. She was playing, with her hus- 
band accompanying her on the organ, near 
the chftteau of an old marquis ; and when he 
heard the sound of the violin he asked them 
in. Then he said, * Here, try my violin,' and , 
handed her the old violin. My wife said that 
when she touched it with the bow, she cried, 
* Ah, how fine it is 1 ' It was the greatest en- 
joyment she had known for years. You un- 
derstand, the good violins all bridge where 
the bridge is placed, but the new violins sink 
there, and the tune is altered by it. They 
call Uie violins that sink ' consumptive ' ones. 

" I am D^on. The vineyard of Clos Naa- 
gent is near to Djjon. You have heard of that 
wine. Oh, yes, of course you have ! That 
clos belongs to a young man of twenty-two, 
and he could sell it for 2,600,000 fVancs if he 
liked. At Dijon the botUes sell for 7 francs. 

" My mother and father did not live happily 
together. My father died when I had three 
years, and then my mother, who had only 
twenty years of age, married again, and you 
know how it often happens, the second father 



IW 



IX>KJ)ON LABOUR J2W THE I/»iDON JPOOM. 



does not \cm the flnl tamStj of his wife. 
Some SercTuds passed through onr ▼illege, 
md I was sold tethera. I was their slave for 
ten yean. I leanit to play the hnidy^indy 
with them. I osed to accompany an organ. I 
picked out note for note with the oigan. When 
I heard an air, too, whieh I liked, I used to go 
to my room and follow the air ftem my memory 
upon the inslrament. I went to Paria after- 
wards. 

■^Ton see I play on only one siring in my 
hordy-gnnly. Those which the Savoyards play 
have several strings, and that is what makes 
them drone. The hordy-gurdy is the same as 
the violin in principle. Yon see the wheel of 
wood whieh I tnm with the handle is like its 
how, for it grates on the string, and the keys 
IiresR on the string like the fingers, and pro- 
duce the notes. 1 used to play on a droning 
liurdy-gimly at first, hnt one night I went 
iiitt> a cafe at Paris, and the gentlemen there 
cried out, * Ah ! the noise ! ' Tln'n I thought 
to myself — I had fifteen years — ^if I play on 
one string it will not produce so much noise 
as on two. Then I removed one string, and 
when I went the next night the gentlemen 
said, * Ah, that is mnch better ! ' and that is 
why I play on one string. 

** I used to sing in Paris. I Icomt all that 
of new in the style of romances, and I aecom- 

?anied mjTjelf on my hurdy-gurdy. At Paris 
met my wife. She was a wiJt^w then. 1 
told her thot I would marry her when her 
mourning was over, which lasted nine months. 
I was not twenty then. I went about pla}ing 
at the cafes, and put by money. But when we 
went to be married, the priests would not 
marry us unless we had our jmrentB' consents. 
I did not know whether my mother was dead. 
I hunted everywhere. As I could not find 
out, I lived with my wife the same as if we 
had been married. I am married to her now, 
but my children were all bom before mar- 
riage. At last I went to the Catholic priest at 
Dover, and told him my life, and that I hod 
four children, and wished to marry my wife, 
and he consented to marry us if I would get 
the consent of the priest of the place where I 
had lived last. That was Calais, and I vrrute to 
the priest there, and he gave his consent, and 
now my children are legitimate. By the law 
of France, a marriage mokes legitimate all the 
children bom by the woman with whom you 
are united. My children were present at my 
marriage, and that produced a very droU 
effect I have alwa^-s been faithful to my 
wife, and she to me, thoiigh we were not mar- 
ried. 

** When my wife is well, she goes out with 
me, and plays on the violin. It produces a 
very good effect. She plays the seconds. But 
she has so much to do at home with the 
children, that she does not come out with 
me much. 

" My age is twcnty-five* and I have voyaged 
for seventeen years. There are three months 



sinee I eame in England. I was atCahnsand 
at Boologne, and it is tbcie that I had the 
idea to come to England. Many penons vh» 
coonselled ns, udd us that in England va 
should gain a great deal of money. Thai is 
why I came. It took tfaeee weeks hefon I 
conld get the penniaaion to be married, and 
during that time I woiked at the diffomi 
towns. I did pretty well at Dover; and aft« 
that I went to llamygate, and I did very witt 
there. Yes, I took a great deal of money on 
the sands of a morning. I have been mar. 
ried a month now — for I left Bamagate to g» 
to be married. At Kamsgate they understood 
my playing. Unless I have educattd people 
to play to, I do not mako mnoh snceeas inih 
my instrument. I play before a pnhhc-hooMv 
or before a cottage, and they say, * Thai's sU 
very well ;' but they do not know that to make 
a hurdy-gurdy sound liko a violin requirai 
great art and patience. Besides, I pUv sirs 
fttmi operas, and they do not know the IuHjib 
music. Now if I was alone with my hurdy- 
gurdy, I should only gain a few penoe ; hot it 
is by my children that I do pretty well. 

" We came to London when the season wia 
over in the country, and now we go e\iny- 
wherc in tlie town. ' I cannot speak English ; 
but I have my address in my pocket, if I low 
myself. Je m^elanee dan* la viUe. To d^ I 
went by a bi;? ])Arir. where there is a chiteaa 
of the Queen. If I lose my way, I ahow my 
u-ritten address, and they go on qieaking 
English, and show me the way to go. I dont 
understand the English, but I do the pointed 
finger; and when I get near lumie, then I 
recognise tlie quarter. 

**My little girl •will havo six years next 
February, and the little boy is only four yeaia 
and a-half. She Ls a ver>' clever little giri» 
and she notices everything. Before I «'as 
married, she heard me speaking to my wife 
about wiien we were to be mnrried ; and she'd 
saVf constantly, * Ah, papa, wlien are you 
going to be married to mamma ?' We had a 
pudding on oiur marriage-day, and she liked it 
so mnch that now she very often says, * Oh, 
papa, I should like a pudding like that I had 
when yon mamed mamma.' That is compro- 
mising, but she doesn't know any Ixnter. 

" It was luy little girl Kugonie wh<» taught 
her brother Paul to dance. He liked it very 
much ; but he is young yet, and heavy in his 
movements; but she is prnceftil. and very 
clever. At 1 Boulogne she was much beloved, 
and the Enpclish ladies would give her packets 
of sugar-plums and cokes. W'hen thoy dsnce, 
they first of all polk togctlier, and then they 
do the Varsovienne together, and after that 
she does the Cachuca and the Mazurka alone. 
I first of all taught my girl to do the Polka, 
for in my time 1 liked the dance pretty well* 
As soon as the girl had leomt il, slie taught 
her brother. They like dancing above all* 
when I encourage them, for I say. ' Now, my 
children, dance well; and, above all, danoi 



LaaDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOB. 



178 



r, and then I will bay you some 
rhon, if they take a ikacy to any- 
it is not too dear, I bny it for them, 
. encoimgaa thenu Besides, when 
* Papa, when shall we go to France, 
By little brother who ia ont at nuzse ?' 
aj, *When we bane earned enough 
■o yon moat danee well, and, aboye all, 
r, and when we hsve taken plenty of 
6 will be att,' That eneooragea them, 
like to aee me take plenty of money. 
B mrl accompanies the mosic on the 
I in the Cachnca. It is astonishing 
ahe pUya thenu I have heard grown- 
u in the cafes ehantants, who don't 
a so wall as she docs. It is wonderAil 
ong a child. Yoa will say she has 
f atyle of playing on the hurdy-gordy, 
novements ; but it is the same thing, 
is as clever to other music Some- 
len she has danced, ladies come up 
her, and CTcn carry her oif into their 
and I have to wait hours for her. 
le sees that I gain money, sho has 
yte courage. When the little girl has 
icing with my Paul, then he, when 
ncing alone, takes the plate and asks 
7. He is very laughable, for he can 
lay, * If you please, mis.ses.' Some- 
e ladies begin tx) speak to him, he 
es! jcs!' three or four times, and 
runs up to me and says, ^ Papa, that 
iks English ;' and then I have to say, 
ik English.' But lie is contented if 
I anybody speak French. Then he 
to mc, and says, ' Papa, papa, Mon- 
(oks French.' 

little girl has embroidered trowsers 
icoats. You won't believe it, but 1 
ill that. The ends of the trowsers, 
mings to her petticoats, her collarH 
ves, all I have worked. I do it at 
len Tve get home. The evenings are 
I do a little, and at tlie end of the 
»ecomes much. If I hod to buy that 
cost too much. It was my \tife who 
le to do it. She said the children 
well dressed, and we have no money 
hesc things. Then she taught me: 
it seemed droll to me, and I was 
. but thi-n I Uiou^'bt, I do it for my 
d not for my pleasure, it is for my 
; and now I am accustomed to do it. 
Id fam.'v, too, tliot the childron are 
ng about in the streets dn^ssed as 
, but they have llannel round tlic 
d then the jumping warms them, 
iild tell me directly if they were cold, 
ask them. 

day I was married a very singular 
ancc happened. I had bought my 
>w dress, and she, poor thing, sat up 
to make it. All night ! It cost me 
ings, the stuff did. I hod a very bad 
I she kept saying, * I shall be gay, but 
poor fiiend, how wiU you look 7' My 



coat was very old. I said, <I shall do as I 
am ; ' but it made her sad that I bad no eoafe 
to appear in style at our maniage. Our 
landlord offered to knd me his eoat, hot he 
was twice as stout as I am, and I looked wone 
than in my own eoat. Just as we ware going 
to start for the ehurch, a man came to the 
house with a coat to sell — the same I have on 
now. The landlord sent him to me. It i* 
nearly new, and had not been on mora than 
three or ibor times. He askod 12*., and I 
offered 8«. ; at last ha took 9t. My wife, who 
is very religious, said, * It is the good God 
who sent that man, to reward us for alwaya 
trying to get married.' 

'* Since I have been here, my affiurs have 
gone on pretty weU. I hare taken some days 
2m., others G«., and even 8«. ; but then some 
days rain has fallen, and on othen it hae 
been wet under foot, and I have only taken 4f. 
My general sum is &«. Qd. the day, or 6«. 
Eveiy night when I get hom« I give my wife 
what I have taken, and I say, * Here, my giri» 
is dj. for to-morrow's food,' and then we put 
the remainder on one side to save up. We 
paj bs, a-week for our room, and that is dear, 
for wo are there very bad .' very bad! for we 
Kleep almost on the boards. It is lonely for 
her to be by herself in the day, but she is near 
her confinement, and she cannot go out. 

** It makes me laugh, when I think of our 
first coming to this country. She only wore- 
linen caps, but I was obUged to buy her a 
bonnet It wos a very good straw one, and 
cost Is. It made her laugh to see everybody 
wearing a bonnet. 

** When I first got to London, I did not 
know where to go to get lodgings. I speak 
Italian very well, for my wife taught me. I 
spoke to an Italian at Kamsgatc, and he told 
nic to go to WooUich, and there I found an 
Italian lodging-house. There the landlord 
gave me a letter to a friend in London, and I 
went and paid 2s. Od. in advance, and took 
the room, and when we went there to Uve 
I gave another 2s. bd., su as to pay the 5«. 
in advance. It seenLs strange to us to have to 
pay rent in advance — but it is a custom. 

'* It costs me soinetlnnt; to clothe my chil- 
dren. My girl has six different skirts, all of 
silk, of ditlerent colours, gn;y, blue, red, and 
yellow. They last the year. The artificial 
ilowcrs on her head aro arranged by her 
mamma. The boots cost the mostmone\'. She 
has a pair ever}' month. Here they are ils., 
but in France they are dearer. It is about 
the same for the little boy ; only as he does 
not work so much as his sister, ho is not 
dressed in so distinguished a style. He is 
dean, but not so elegant, for we give the be.st 
to the girl. 

" My children are very good at home. Their 
mother adores them, and lets them do as they 
like. They are very good, indeed. 

" On Sunday, they are dressed like other 
children. In the mmuag we go to i 



174 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOB. 



then we go and walk a little, and see Tendon. 
I have, as yet, made no Mends in London. I 
know no French people. I have met some, 
but ihey don't speak to me. We confine our- 
selves to our family. 

" When I am in the streets with good houses 
in them, and see anybody looking at the win- 
dows, then if I see them listening, I play 
?ieces flrom the operas on my hnrdy-giu'dy. 
do this between the dances. Those who 
go to the opera and frequent the theatres, like 
to hear distinguished music." 

Poor Habp Platzb. 

A POOB, feeble, half-witted looking man, with 
the appearance of far greater age than he re- 
presented himself, (a common case with the 
very poor), told me of his sufferings in the 
streets. He was wretchedly clad, his clotlies 
being old, patched, and greasy. He is well- 
known in London, being frequently seen with 
a crowd of boys at his heels, who amuse 
themselves in playing all kinds of tricks upon 
him. 

*' I play the harp in the streets," he said, 
** and have done so for the last two years, and 
should be very glad to gfive it up. My brother 
lives with me; we're both bachelors, and he's 
80 dreadfiil lame, he can do nothing. He is a 
coach -body maker by business. I was bom 
blind, and was brought up to music ; but my 
sight was restored by Dr. Ware, the old gentle- 
man in Bridge-street, BlaekfHars, when I was 
nine years old, but it's a near sight now. I'm 
forty-nine in August. When I was young I 
taught the harp and the pianoforte, but that 
very soon fell off, and I have been teaching 
on or off these many years — ^I don't know how 
many. I had three guineas a-quarter for 
teaching the harp at one time, and two guineas 
tor the piano. My brother and I have It. and 
a loaf a-piece firom the parish, and the 2«. pays 
the rent. Mine's not a bad trade now, but it's 
bad in the streets. I've been torn to pieces ; 
I'm torn to pieces every day I go out in the 
streets, and I would be glad to get rid of the 
streets for 6s. a- week. The streets are full of 
ruffians. The boys are ruffians. The men in 
the streets too are ruffians, and encourage the 
boys. The police protect me as much as they 
can. I should be killed evexy week but for 
them ; they're very good people. I've known 
poor women of the town drive the boys away 
trom me, or try to drive them. It's terrible per- 
secution I suffer— terrible i)ersecution. The 
boys push me down and hurt me badly, and 
my harp too. They yell and make noises so 
that I can't be heard, nor my harp. The boys 
have cut off my harp-strings, throe of them, 
the other day, which cost me G^d, or Id, I 
tell them it's a shame, but I might as well 
speak to the stones. I never go out that they 
miss me. I don't make more than d<. a-week 
in the streets, if I make that." 



OBajLNMAir,wiTH Flttte Habmokicoh Oboas. 

" When I am come in this oonnixy I had nine 
or ten year old, so I know the English 
language better than mine. At that time 
there was no organ about but the old-fashioxied 
one made in Bristol, with gold organ-pipe in 
front. Then come the one with figure-dolli 
in front ; and then next come the piano (m%, 
made at Bristol too ; and now the flute ona^ 
which come from Paris, where they makt 
them. He is an Italian man that make them, 
and he is the only man dat can make them, 
because he paid for them to the government 
(patented them), and now ho is the only 
one. 

" I belong to Parma, — to the small village 
in the duchy. My father keep a farm, but I 
had three year old, I think, when he died. 
There was ten of us altogeder ; but one of m 
he was died, and one he drown in the water. 
I was very poor, and I was go out begging 
there ; and my uncle said I should go to Pam 
to get my living. I was so poor I was afraid 
to die, for I get nothing to eat. My uncle ny, 
I will take one of them to try to keep him. 
So I go along with him. Mother was ci7in| 
when I went away. She was very poor, i 
went with my uncle to Paris, and we walk aU 
the way. I had some white mice there, and 
he had a organ. I did middling. The YretnA 
people is more kind to the charity than the 
English. There are not so many beggtf 
there as in England. The first time ths 
Italian come over here we was took a good 
bit of money, but now ! 

*' When I was in Paris my uncle had to go 
home again on business. He ask me too if I 
would go with him. But I was afndd to be 
hungry again, for you see I was feel hungiy 
again, and I wouldn't, for I got a piece of 
bread in France. 

** My uncle was along with another man, 
who was a master like, you know ; for he had 
a few instrument, but common thing. I doni 
know if he have some word wid my uncle, but 
they part Den dis man say • Come to England 
with me,* and he said *you shall have five frano 
the month, and yoiu: victual.' We walk as far 
as Calais, and then we. come in the boat. I 
was very sick, and I thought that I die then. 
I say to him plenty times * I ynsh I never 
come,* for I never thought to get over. 

•• When we got to London, we go to a little 
court there, in Safih>n-hill; and I was live 
there in the little public-house. I go out, 
sometime white mice, sometime monkey, 
sometime with organ — small one. I dare wf 
1 make 10«. a-week for him ; but he wor veqr 
kind to me, and give me to eat what I like. 
He was take care of me, of course. I was 
very young at dat time. 

•* After I was in London a-year, I go back 
to Paris with my master. There I comd have 
made my fortune, but I was so young I did 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



174 



now what I do. There was an old 
who ask me to come as her servant, 
aster did not like veiy well to let me go. 
ay to me, * Yon shall not have no hud 
Qoly to go behind the carriage, or follow 
he ombrella.' But I was so young I did 
now my chance. I tell her I have my 
I in Italy ; and she say she go to Italy 
9 years, and I shall have two months to 
ay mother. I did not go with this old 
ind I lose the chance ; but I had only 
m years, and I was foolish. 
tien I come to England again, and stop 
three years. Where my master go, I 
)liged to go too. Then I go to Italy, and 
my moder. The most part of my family 
know me when I went home, for I was 
much, and older. I stop there six 
, and then I come back to England with 
r man. He give me 12 franc a-month, 
aiy kind indeed he was. He had some 
* in this countiy, so he take me along 
m* There was only me and him. My 
naster have two beside me. 
le master of organs send to Italy for 
D come here. Suppose I have a broder 
y, I write to him to send me two boys, 
» look out for them. They send money 
I boy to come. Sometimes he send 3/., 
mes 8/. 10*. or 4^ Then they walk, 
re on the pear or the grape, or what is 
; and if they put by any, then they 
rhat they put by. They generally tell 
liey shall have 12 francs a-month. But 
me they was cheap ; but now they are 
and it is sometime a pound a-month, 
I sooner have one who have been here 
, because den they know the way to take 
r the instrument, you know. ■ 
top in England two year and six month, 
I come over with my second master. 
id me like a bank, and I saved it up, 
take it over to Italy with me. When I 
lat of money I was obliged to send it 
bo my broder in Italy, for to keep him, 
tow. When I go home again I had a 
noney with me. I give it to the gentle- 
hat support my mother and sister ; but 
not enough, you know, not three part, 
iras obliged to give him a good bit 

en I came back to England again, to 
me masttT. It take about a month to 
he Toyage. I was walk it all the way. 
sross the Alps. You must to come over 
I dare say I walk thirty miles a-day, 
me more dan that. I sleep at the 
house; but when you not get to the 
house, then when it begins dark, then 
> the farm-house and ask for a bit of 
x> lodge. But I generally goes to the 
•house when I get one. They charge 
2<2., or sometimes \d, I never play 
Qg on the road, or take de white mice, 
r take nothing, 
ter that time I have been to Italy and 



back three or four times ; but I never been 
with no master, not after the second one. I 
bought an organ of my master. I think I give 
him 13/. No, sir, I not give the money down» 
but so much the week, and he trust me. It 
was according what I took, I paid him. I 
was tiying to make up 1/. and bring him 
down. It take me about eighteen months to 
pay him, because I was obliged to keep me 
and one things and another. It was a mid* 
dling organ. It was one was a piano, you 
know. I take about 1<. ^, or Ij, G</. a-day 
regularly with it. 

" I have now an organ — a flute organ they 
call it — and it is my own. It cost me 20/. A 
man make it come from France. He knows 
an organ-maker in France, and he write for 
me, and make it come over for me. I suppose 
he had a pound profit for to make it come for 
me; for I think it cost less than 20/. in 
Paris. 

** I have this organ this twelve months. It 
has worn out a htUe, but not much. It is 
not so good as when it come from France. 
An organ will wear twenty year, but some of 
them break. Then you must have it always 
repaired and tuned. You see, the music of it 
must be tuned every five or six months. Mine 
has never been tuned yet, the time I have it. 
It is the trumpet part that get out of tune 
sooner. I know a man who goes out with de 
big organ on the wheels, and he time the 
organ for me. I go to him, and I say, *My 
organ wants de repair ;'i and he come, and he 
never charge me anything. He make the 
base and tenor agree. He tune the first one 
to the base, you know, and then the second 
one to the second base. When the organ out 
of tune the pipe rattle. 

" The organ fills with dust a good deal in 
the summer time, and then you must take it 
all to pieces. In London they can tune and 
repair it. They charge 10«. to clean and tune 
it. Sometime he have something to do with 
the pipes, and then it come to more. In 
winter the smoke get inside, and make it come 
all black. I am obliged to keep it all covered 
up when I am playing. 

*« My organ play eight tunes. Two are from 
opera, one is a song, one a waltz, one is horn- 
pipe, one is a polka, and the other two is 
dandng tunes. One is from * II Lombardi,' 
of Verdi. All the organs play that piece. I 
have sold that music to gentlemens. They 
say to me, * What is that you play T and I say, 
*■ From H Lombardi.' Then they ask me if I 
have the music ; and I say * Yes ;' and I sell 
it to them for Am, I did not do this with my 
little organ ; but when I went out with a big 
organ on two wheels. My little flute oi^gan 
play the same piece. The other opera piece 
is * H Trovatore.' I have heard ' II Lombardi * 
in Italy. It is very nice music; but never 
hear * H Trovatore.' It is very nice music, too. 
It go veiy low. My gentlemens like it very 
moeh. I don't undenSand muaic at aU. The 



1T8 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON fOOSL 



other piece is English piece, which ire coll the 

* Liverpool Hornpipe.' There is two Liverpool 
Hornpipe. I know one these twent}' years. 
Then come *The Ratcatcher's Daughter;' he 
is a English song. It's get a little old : but 
when it's firvt come out the poor people do 
like it, but the gontlemcns they like more the 
opera, you know. After that is what you call 

* Minnie,' another English 8ong. He is mid. 
dhng popular. He is not one of the new tune, 
but they do like it. The next one is a Scotch 
contre-danse. It is good tunes, but I don't 
know the name of it. The next one is, I think, 
a polka; but I think he's made fr«>m port of 
'Scotische.' Theru is two or thn^ tunes 
belongs to the *Scotischc.' The next one is, I 
think, a voltz of Vienna. I don't know which 
one, but I say to the organ-man, * I want a 
raits of Vienna ;' and he say, * "Which one ? 
because there is plenty of valtz of Vienna.' Of 
course, there is nine of them. After the opera 
music, the valtz and the i>olka is the best 
music in the organ. 

'* For doing a barrel of eight tune it oome very 
near \4J., one thing and another. You can have 
a fresh tune put into an old barrel. But then 
he charge 10c. He's more trouble than to put 
ob3j one. I have my tune ohanffed once a- 
jear. Yon see most of the people gets veiy 
tired of one tunc, and I'm obtiged to change 
them. ' You can have the new tune in three 
or four da^-s, or a week's time, if he has 
nothing to do; but sometime it is three or 
foor weeks, if he has plenty to do. It is a 
man who is called John Hicks who does the 
new tunes. He was bom in BristoL He has 
a father in Bristol. He live in Crookenwcll, 
just at the back of the House of Gmrectioo. 
You know the prison ? then it is jost at the 
back, on the other side. 

**It won't do to have all opera musie in my 
organ. Yon must have some opera tones for 
the gentlemen, and some for the poor people, 
and they like the dancing tuiie. Dere is some 
fbr Uie gentlcmens, and some for the poor 
peoples. 

■* I have often been into the houses of gen- 
tlemens to play tunes for dancing. I have 
been to a gentleman's near Golden-square, 
where he have a shop for to make Uic things 
for the horse — a saddler, you call it. He have 
identy customers ; them what gets the things 
for the horse. There was carriage outside. It 
was large room, where you could dance thirty- 
two altogether. I think it's the boxing-day I 
go there. I have 10*. for that night He have 
a fiuin in the eotmtry, and I go there too. He 
have the little children there — like a school, 
■nd there was two policemen at the door, and 
yon couldn't get in without the paper to ^ow. 
He had Punch and Judy. He has a English 
band as well. 

" I have some two or three plaee where I go 
regular at Christmas-time, to plaj all night to 
the children. Sometime I go for an hour or 
two. When tfaeym find of daaoing they lit 



down and have a rest, and I play tl 
tunc. I go to schools, too, and play to 
children. They come and fetch me, 
* You come such a time and play to t 
children,' and I say, *Very well,' ai 
all ri^'ht. 

*' My organ is like the organ, but 
anotlier part, and that is like a flute 
or^an is called de trompet, and that 
called tlie tiute-organ, because he's 
tlutu in it When they first come 
make a great deal of money. I tal 
or Sic., and sometimes Ic. (kl. You se 
business, some has got his regulsur e 
and some they go up the street ai 
the street and they don't take not 
have not got any regular customen 
sir. 

**■ On the Monday when I goes on 
over the water up the Claphani-road. 
two or three regular there, and they 
plenty of beer and to eat. I know thi 
those twenty year. If I say to that lad 
vci;)' ill,' he give me his card and say 
the doctor,' and I have nothing to pay 
was three sister, but one he died. 
vexT old, and one he can only eom« 
window. I dare say I have six boose 
neighbonrhood where they give me i 
and some 2d. every time I go there, 
summer-time, when* it is hot, I walk ti 
wich on the Monday. I have, I dare sa; 
houses there where I go regular. I a 
op 1«. I pay 4il. sometime to zide ] 
the boat My organ weight more tl 
pounds, and that tire me. The first tii 
rm not osed to it you know, I feel 
tired thvi when I'm used to it • 

** On the Tneadi^ I go to Grreenwich, i 
it is cold, instead of the Monday. On' 
day I ain't got no way to go. I try » 
down atWlutechi9>el, or some other n 
Thursday I goes out Islington way, i 
as fkr as Highbury Bam, but not 
There is a bill of the rulway and i 
there. I've got three or four regular 
ers there. The most I get at onoe i 
never get fid. One gentleman at Gr 
give me Od., but oxdy once. On th4 
I've got no way to go ; I go where I li 
Saturday I go to Regent-street I go tc 
ter-square and the foreign hotels, wl 
foreign gentlemen is. Sometime I 
chance to get a few shilling ; sometin 
halfpenny. The most I midce is soom 
the fair-time. Sometime at Gn^eowii 
make ds. all in copper, and that is the 
ever make ; and the lowest is somet 
Vr'heu I see I can't make nothing, I g 
It is veiy bad in wet weather. I mm 
home, for the rain spoil the instrumeol 
is nothing like sommer-times, for the 
money that I make for the year it < 
between da. and lOf . the week. Some 
is 0</., sometimes !«., or It. di. or 2«. 1 
For 12t. the waek it mnst be 2s. the 4 



LOifDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



177 



more than I take. I wiah somebody 
I2«. ; there is no sueh chance. 
live in a room by myself with three 
find we pay \s, each, and there is two 
f I go to lodging-house I pay In. 6d. the 
In the Italian lodging-house they give 
an shirt on the Sunday for the Is. Qd, 
y own shirt, but they clean it This is 
Italian house. In English house it is 
ind no shirt I have breaki^t of coffee 
1 1 like, and we club together. "We have 
jid butter, sometime herring, sometime 
what we likes. In the day I buy a 
h of bread and a pen'orth of cheese, 
ne beer, and at night I have snpi>er. I 
aaccarone — what you call it? — or rice 
bbage, or I make soup or bile some 
with nil four together it come to about 
.Od. a- day for living. 
the house where I live they are all 
i. They are nearly all Italians that 
»utI^athcr-lano and Saffron -hill. There 
>d bit of them live there. I should say 
dare sny there is. The house where I 
uy own. I let empty room ; they bring 
wn things, yon know. It is my lease, 
ay the rent. 

s only the people say that the Italian 
•e badly used: they are not so, the 
( are very kind to them. If he make Is, 
g it home ; if 3s. or 4s. or 0//. he bring 
!. He is not command^ to bring home 
ti ; that is what the people say. I was 
e magistrate of pohce in Marlborough- 
3ar days ago, about a little Itahan boy 
e policemen take for asking money. 
ne.ask to buy his monkey and talk with 
d then he ask for a penny, and the police 
n. A gentleman ask me about the boys, 
m it is all nonsense what the people say. 
I no more boys sent liere now. If a boy 
over, and he is bad boys, he goes and 
the street instead of working; then, after 
BO much for his coming to England, it 
I. It does not pay the boys. If I was 
>r I would not have the boys, if they 
are for nothing. 

ypose I have two organs, then one is in 
use doing nothing. Then some one 
ad say, ' Lend me the organ for to-day.' 
say, * Yes/ and charge him, some 44f., 
4^. ; or if somebody ill and he cannot 
then he's organ doing nothing, and he 
out for 4</. or Od, There is two or three 
ion who sends out men with organs, 
ont know who has got the most of us. 
hey pny the men 1/. a-mont!i and their 
r some lbs. Then, some goes half and 
m : then, it's more profits to the man 
le master. 

cistmas-time is nothing like the sum- 
ae. Sometimes they give you a Christ - 
X, but it's not the time for Christmas- 
)w. Sometimes it's a glass of beer: 
* a Christmns-box for you.' Sometimes 
lass of gin, or rum, or a piece of pud- 



ding : • Here's a Christmas-box for you.' I 
have had Gd,^ but never Is. for a Christmas- 
box. Sometimes on a boxing-day it is 3«., or 
2s. ed. for the doy. 

" I have never travelled in the countiy with 
my organ, only once when I was young, as ftr 
as Liverpool, but no fhrthcr. Many has got 
his regular time out in the countiy. "When I 
go out with the organ I should say it make 
altogether that I walk ten miles. I want two 
new pairs of boots every year. I start off in 
the morning, sometimes eight, sometimes nine 
or ten, whether I have f&rio go, I never stop 
out after seven o'clock at night Some do, 
but I don't. 

" I don't know music at all. I am middling 
fond of it. There is none of the Italians that 
I know that sings. The French is very fond 
of singing. 

" When first you begins, it tries the wrist, 
turning the handle of the organ ; but you soon 
gets accustomed to it. At first, the arm was 
sore with the work all day. When I am play- 
ing I ttun the handle regularly. Sometimes 
there are people who say, * Go a little quick,' 
but not often. 

"If the silk in flront of the organ is bad, I get 
new and put it in myself ; the rain spoil it vieiy 
much. It depend upon what sort of organ he 
is, as to the sort of silk he gets : sometimes 
'2s. 6d, a-yard, and he take about a yard and a 
half. Some like to do this once a-year ; but 
some when he see it get a little dirty, like 
fresh things, yon know, and then it is twiee 
a-ycnr. 

•*The police are very quiet to us. When 
anybody throw up a window and say, * Go on/ 
I go. Sometime they say there is sick in the 
house, when there is none, but I go just the 
same. If I did not, then the policeman come, 
and I get into trouble. I have heard of the 
noise in the papers about the organs in the 
street, but we never talk of it in our quarter. 
They pay no attention to tlie subject, for they 
know if anybody say, ' Go/ then we must de- 
part That is what we do." 

Italian Pipebs and Claiuonet Pulysbs. 

" The companion I got about with me, is with 
me from Naples, not the city, but in the 
coimtiy. His is of my family ; no, not my 
cousin, but my mother was the sister of his 
cousin. Yes! yes! yes! my cousin. Some 
one told me he was my nephew, but it's 
cousin. Naples is a pretty city. It is more 
pretty than Paris, but not so big. I worked 
on the groimd at Naples, in the countiy, and I 
guarded sheep. I never was a domestic ; but 
it was fbr my father. It was groimd of his. 
It was not much. He worked the earth for 
yellow com. Ho had not much of sheep, 
only fifteen. WTien I go out with the sheep I 
corry my hngpipes alwoys with me. I play 
on them when I was sixteen years of age. I 
play thorn when I guard my sheep. In mj 



LXV. 



M 



178 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOS. 



cotmtiy they call my instrument de 'zam- 
pogna.' All the boys in my coantry play on 
it, for there are many masters there who teach 
it. I taught myself to play it. I bought my 
own instrument. I gave the money myself 
for that affair. It cost me seven francs. The 
bag is made of a skin of goat. Thero are 
four clarionets to iL There is one for the 
high and one for the bass. I play them 
with different hands. The other two clarionets 
make a noise to make the accord ; one makes 
high and the other the low. They drone to make 
himmony. The airs I play are the airs of my 
countiy. I did not invent them. One is 

* La Tarentule Italien,' and another is what we 
call *• La Badend/ but I not know what you call 
it in French. Another is the ' Death of the 
Roi de France.* I know ten of these airs. The 

* Pastorello Naopolitan ' is veiy pretty, and so 
is the * Pastorelle Komaino.' 

" When I go out to guard my sheep I play 
my zampogna, and I walk along and the 
sheep foUow me. Sometimes 1 sit down and 
the sheep eat about me, and I play on my 
instrument Sometimes I go into the moun- 
tains. There are plenty of' mountains in my 
country, and with snow on them. I can hear 
the guardians of sheep playing all around me 
in the mountains. Yes, many at once, — six, 
ten, twelve, or fifteen, on every side. No, I did 
not play my instrument to keep my sheep 
together, only to leom the airs. 1 was a good 
player, but there were others who played 
much better than me. Every night in my 
village there are four or six who play together 
instruments like mine, and all the people 
dance. They prefer to dance to the * Taren- 
tule Italien.' It is a pretty dance in our 
costmne. The English do not dance like nous 
autres. We are not paid for playing in the 
village, only at ffites, when gentlemen say, 
' Flay ; ' and then they give 20 sous or 40 sons, 
like that. There is another air, which is playpd 
only for singing. There is one only for smging 
cl^ansons, and another for singing * La Pridre 
de la Vierge.' Those th^t play the zampogna 
go to the houses, and the candles are lighted 
on the altar, and we pUy while the bourgeois 
sing the pri^. 

^ I am aged 23 years next March. I was 
sixteen when I learnt my instrument The 
twelfth of this month I shall have loft my 
country nine months. I have traversed the 
states of Home and of France to come to 
England. I marched all the distance, playing 
my zampogna. I gain ten sous French whilst 
I voyage in the states of France. I march 
from Marseilles to Paris. To reach Marseilles 
by the boat it cost 15 fr^. by head. 

«*The reason why we left our native land 
is this : — One of our comrades hod been to 
Pans, and he had said he gained much money 
by painters by posing for his form. Then I 
had envy to go to Pans and gain money. 
In my country they pay 20 sous for each year 
for each sheep. I had 200 to guard for a 



monsieur, who was very xidL. There were 
four of us left our village at the same time. 
We all four played de zampogna. My father 
was not content that I voyage the world. He 
was very sorry. We got our passport ar- 
ranged tout de suite, two passport for us four. 
We all began to play our instruments together, 
as soon &s we were out of the village. Four 
of our friends accompanied us on our road, 
to say adieu. We took bread of com vrith ni 
to eat for the first di^. When we had finished 
that we played at the next village, and they 
give us some more bread. 

*' At Paris I posed to the artists, and they 
pay me 20 sous for the hour. The most I pose 
is four hours for the day. We could not pl^y 
our instruments in tlie street, because the 
Serjeant- de-ville catch us, and take us di- 
rectly to prison. I go to play in the courts be- 
fore the houses. I asked the concierge at the 
door if he would give me permission to play 
in the court I gain 15 sous or 1 franc par 
jour. For all the time I rest in Paris I gain 
2 francs for the day. This is with posing to 
artists to paint, and for playing. I also plij 
at the barri6re outside Paris, where the wine 
is cheap. They gave us more there than in 
the courts; they are more generous when 
they drink the wine. 

" When I arrive at Paris my comrades hsfe 
leave me. I was alone in Paris. There an 
Italian proposed to me to go to America aa 
his servant He had two organs, and he had 
two servants to play them, and they gave him 
the half of that which they gained. He said 
to me, that he would search for a {nno 
organ for me, and I said I would give lum 
the half of that which I gained in the stareetk 
He made us sign a card before a notary. 
He told us it would cost 150 francs to go to 
America. I gave him the money to pay from 
Paris to Folkestone. From tliere we voyaged 
on foot to Londres. I only worked for mni 
for eight days, because I said I would not 
go to Am^rique. He is here now, for he has 
no money to go in Am^que. 

" I met my cousin here in Londres. I w« 
here fifteen da}'s before I met him. We 
neither of us speak Anglais, and not French 
either, only a little very bad ; but we under- 
stand it We go out together now, and I 
play the zampogna, and he the ' bifora 
Italien,' or what the lYench call flageolet^ 
and the English pipes. It is like a fiageolet. 
He knows all the airs that I play. He play well 
the airs — that ho does. Ho wears a cloak 
on his shoulders, and I have one, too ; but I 
left it at home to-day. It is a very large 
cloak, with tliree yards of etoffe in it. He 
carry in his hat a feather of what you call 
here peacock, and a French lady give hixii 
the bright ribbon which is round his hat 
I have also plume de peacock and flowen 
of stuff, like at tlie shops, round my hat In 
my couutrj- we always put roimd our hit 
white and red tlowers. 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR, 



179 



imetbnes ve go to pose to the artists, 
is not always. There are plenty of 
near Newman-street, but in other 
rs there are none at alL It is for our 
ae they paint ns. The colours they put 
3 pictures are those of our costume. I 
been three times to a gentleman in a 
street, where they took our portraits 
jnraphique. They give a shilling. I know 
>nses where I go to be done for a por- 
but I don't know the names of the 
surs, or the streets where they reside. 
3 artists' they pay 1a. par heure, and we 
two or three heures, and the most is 
eures. When we go together we have 
eh for the hour. My cousin is at an 
I to-day. They paint him more than 
ecause he carries a sash of silk round 
aist, with ornaments on it. I haven't 
le, because I want the money to buy 

e gain \s. each the day. Ah ! pardon, 
eur, not more than that. The artists 
t for every day, perhaps one time for 
eek. "When we first come here, we take 
ween the two, but now it makes cold, 
B cannot often play. Yesterday we play 
ville, and we take Td, each. Plenty of 
IS look at us, but when my comrade 
bis hat they give nothing. There is 
onth we take 25. each the day, but now 
l«. For the tlirce months that we have 
lere, we have gained 12s. the week each, 
,if wo count what we took when first we 
rrived . For two months we took always 
m every day — always, always ; but now 
ily 1«., or 2«., or Id. I had saved 72«., 
had it in my bourse, which I place un- 
jT head when I sleep. "We sleep three in 
-myself, my cousin, and another Italian. 

night this other toko my bourse and 
ray. Now I have only 8». in my bourse, 
rly broke the heart when I was robbed. 
9 pay 2rf. for each for our bed every 

We live in a house held by a Mossieu 
I. There are three who sleep in one 
ne, and my comrade, and another. We 
i large. This mossieu let us lodge 
ir than otliors, because we are miserable, 
ive not much money. For breakfast we 

half-loaf each one. It is a loaf that 
list pay Ad. or 44rf. We pay Hid. each 
at, and \d. each for a cup of tea or 
In the day we eat '2d. or 3</. between 
>r some bread, and we come home the 
It half- past eight, and we eat supper. 
f maccaroni, or potatoes boiled, and we 
d. each. It costs us Qd. each ihe day 
There are twenty-four Italian in the 
where we live, and they have three 
is. When one is more miserable than 
lers, then he is helped ; and at another 
le assists in his turn. We pay 2rf. a- 
wash our shirt. I always share with 
iisin what he makes in the day. If he 
> work and I stop at home, it is the same 



thing, and the same with me. He carries the 
money always, and pays for what we have 
want to eat; and then, if I wish to go back to 
my own country, then we share the money 
when we separate. 

** The gentlemen give ns more money than 
the ladies. We have never had anything to 
eat given to us. They have asked us to sing, 
but we don't know how. Only one we have 
sung to, an Italian mossieu, who make our 
portraits. We sang the * Prayer of the Sainte 
Vierge.' They have also asked us to dance, 
but we did not, because the seijeant-de^ville, 
if we assemble a great mob, come and defend 
us to play. 

** We have been once before the magistrate, 
to force the mossieu who brought us over to 
render the passport of my native village. He 
has not rendered to me my card. We shall 
go before a magistrate again some day. 

" I can write and read Italian. I did not go 
much to the school of my native village, but 
the master taught me what I know. I can 
read better than I write, for I write very bad 
and slow. My cousin cannot read and write. 
I also know my numbers. I can count quickly. 
When we write a letter, we go to an Italiui 
mossieu, and we tell him to say this and that, 
and he puts it down on the paper. We pay 
1«. for the letter, and then at the post th^ 
make us pay 2«. 2</. When my parents get a 
letter from me, they take it to a mossieu, 
or the schoolmaster of the village, to read 
for them, because they cannot read. They 
have sent me a letter. It was well written 
by a gentleman who wrote it for them. I 
have sent my mother five pieces of five francs , 
from Paris. I gave the money, and they gave 
me a letter ; and then my mother went to the 
consul at Naples, and they gave her the 
money. Since I have been here I could 
send no money, because it was stolen. If I 
had got it, I should have sent some to my 
parents. When I have some more, I shall 
send it. 

" I love my mother very much, and she is 
good, but my father is not good. If he gain a 
piece of 20 sous, he goes on the morrow to the 
marchand of wine, and play the cards, and 
spend it to drink. I never send my money 
to my father, but to my mother." 

Italian with Mokket. 

Alt Italian, who went about with trained mon- 
keys, furnished me with the following account. 

He had a peculiar boorish, and yet good- 
tempered expression, especially when he laugh- 
ed, which he did continually. 

He was dressed in a brown, ragged, doth 
jacket, which was buttoned over along, loose, 
dirty, drab waistcoat, and his trowsers were of 
broad-ribbed corduroy, discoloured with long 
wearing. Bound his neck was a plaid hand- 
kerchief, and his shoes were of the extreme 
*' strong-men's" kind, and grey with dust 



160 



LOXDOX LABOUR ASD THE LOSJJOS POOR, 



and want of Maoking. He wurc the Savoy 
Aud broad-briiimicd felt hat, aud witli it ou hid 
head had a vur>' picturesque apiMUiraiice, and 
the sliadow of the brim falling on the upper 
part of his brown face gave luui abuoiit a Mu- 
zillo-like look. There was, howtnrcr, an udour 
about him, — half monkey, half dirt, — that 
was far from agreeable, aud which pervaded 
the aiiartmeiit in which he sat. 

'* 1 have jf;ot monkey, " lie said, " but 1 
mustn't call in London. I goes out in eoun- 
tree. I was frightened to come here. I was 
frightened you give me months in prison 



I did cr}' I — I cry because I have no money to 
go and buy anoder monkey ! Yes ! I did love 
my monkey ! I did love him for the sake of 
my life ! I give de raiiUDa, and bile dcm for 
him. He have eveiy ting he like. I am 
come here from Parma .about fourteen or fif- 
teen year ago. I used to work in my coon- 
tree. I used to go and look at de ship in d« 
montapfiK's : non ! non ! pas des vaisaeauz, 
mais lies moutons ! I beg your pardon to 
laugh. ]^L* master did bring me up here,— 
dat master is gone to America now, — he is 
comi! to mo and tell me to come to Angletexxe. 



Someafmycouutr}Tncni8ver}'frightenedwhat j Hi' has tell mc I make plenty of money m 
yon do. Ko, sir, I never play de monkey in dc i dis country. All ! I could get plenty of mo* 
I have been out varu dere is so many ; ucy in dat time in London, but now I get not 



donkey, up a top at dat village — vat you call : iniK)sh. I vork for myself at present 
—I cant tell de name. JJey goes dere for 
pastime, — pleasure, — when it makes 



line 
weatlier. iJere is two church, aud two large 
hotel, — yes, I tiuk it is Blackheath! 1 goes 
dere somt^tiine >iil my monkey. 1 have got 
only one ninnkey now, — homcLiine I have got 
two; — he is dressed coLiiue un soldat rouge, 
like one soldier, vid a red jacket and a Jiona- 
parte'b hat. My monkey only pull olf his 
hat a:ul take a de money. lie u&ed to ride a 
de dojT ; but dey stole a dedfi*;, — some of de 
tinkare, a mun vid de unibrella goiii^' by, stole 
a him. JJere is only tree uiontlis dut I have 
got my monkey. It is iny own. I ^avc dirt^- 
livc shilling for dis one I got. lie did not 
know no tricks when he come to me lirst. 1 
did teach u him all he know. I Utich a hiiu 
vid de kindness, do you see. I must look 
rough for irco or four times, but not to l>eat 
him. lie can hardly stir about ; he is afraid 
dat you go to liit him, you sec. I mustn't 



My 

master give me nine — ten shilhng each veei, 
and my ftwit, and my lodging— yes ! eveiy- 
tiu<; ven I am lirst come here. I used to go 
out vid de organ, — a good one, — and I did get 
two, tree, and more sliillan for my master 
each day. It was chance-work : sometiuet 
I did get noting ut all. Do organ was nr 
master's. He had no one else but me wid 
him. We use«l to travel about togeder, and 
he took all de money. He had one Ger- 
man piano, and )dny de moosick. I cant tdl 
how nioosh ho did make, — ho never tt-ll to 
me, — but I did shoat him sometimes myself. 
Sometime when I take de two sliillan I did 
give him dc eighteen -pence ! I b<'g your par- 
don to laugh ! De man did bring up many 
lUihons t^) dis countr}', but now it is difficutt 
to get de passports for my couutrj'men. I 
was C'ightoeu months with my master ; after 
dat I vent to fann -house. 1 run away ftoBi 
my master. He pave mo a slaj) of do face, 



feed him ven I am teaching 1dm. Some- 1 you know, von time, so I don't like it. yon 
times 1 buy a happorth of nuts to give him, ! know, and run awny! I beg your panlon to 
after ht> ha.s done what I wont him to do. . lau^h ! I used to do good many tings at de 
Dis one has not de force behind ; he is weuk i riirni -house. It was in Yorkshire. 1 used to 
in de back. Some monkey is like de children | look at di: beasts, and takf a de vater. 1 don-t 
at de school, some is very hard to teush, ^'et noting for ray vork, only for de sake of de 
and some learn de more quick, you see. De | ln-lly I do it. I was dere about tree year, 
one I had before dis one could do many lings. . Dvy behave to me verj' Will. Dey give me de 
He had not much esjtrit pas pi'iinde chose ; clothes and all I wont. After dat I go to 
but he could ploy de drum, — de litldle, too, — I Livi-iiiool, and I meet some r»f my couutry- 
Ah ! but he dont play de fiddle hkc de Chris- 1 ;uiii den\ and d(?y lend me de monkey, and 
iian. you know : but like de monkey. He I teash liim to danse, light, and jomp, mu.sh 
used to fight wid de sword, — not exactly like I us 1 could, and I go wid my monkey about d« 



de Cliribtian, but like de m(mkey too, — much 
betttr. 1 beg your pardon t«3 laugh, sir ! He 
u.sed to move his leg and jom]>, — 1 call it 
danse, — but he could not do x'uH^a like de 
Christian. — I have seen the Chi-islian though 
what cant dnuse more dan de njonkey! I 
beg your pardon to laugh. 1 did pky valtz to 
him on de oi>;mii. Non t he had not moosh 
cor for de miisick, but I force liim to keep de 
time by de Jerk of de siring. He commence to 
valtz veil wlien lie die. He is dead the vinter 
dat is passed, at Sheltonham. He eat soim? 
red-ec paint. 1 \!,\\v him some castor-oil. but 
no good : he tlio in gn-at deal pain, poor fellow I 



c(uuitr>'. 

" Some day I make tree shillan wid xny 
monkey, sometime only sixp<>nce, and some- 
time noting at all. "When it rain or snow I 
can get noting. I gain peut-etre a dozcii 
sliillan a week isid my inonkv'y, sometime 
more, but not ofli^n. Den^ is long time 1 have 
been in d*; environs of London ; but I dont 
like to go in do streets here. I dont 
like to go to prison, ^loiikey is defended, 
— dcfimdUf — what you call it, London. Bni 
dere is many monkey in London still. Oh, 
non ! not a dozen. Dere is not one do- 
z»n monkey wot play in Angleterre. 1 Know 



I rather lose six pouiiJ.a than lose my monkey. \ dere is two* monkey it Suflron hiU, and one go 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOS. 



181 



Jon ; bat he do no harm. I don't know 
monkej was train to go down de area 
eol a de silver spoons out of de kitchen, 
onld be great fool to tell dat ; but every 
ust get a living de best dey can. Wot 
ron about de monkey I'm frightened vill 
le! 

tell jou dey is defended in de streets, 
»y take me up. I hope not My mon- 
very honest monkey, and get mo de 
I never was in prison, and I would 
:e to be. I play de nioosick, and please 
ople, and 'never steal noting. Non! 
Die no steal, nor my monkey too. Dey 
ooen never say noting to me. I am not 
r, but artiste \ — every body know dat — 
\j monkey is artiste too ! I beg your 
1 to laugh. " 

The DiNdiio Doas. 

EiTED the following narrative from the 
m who has been so long known about 
xeots of London with a troop of x>er- 
ig dogs. He was especially picturesque 
I appearance. His hair, which was 
3d rather than grey, was parted down 
iddle, and hung long and straight over 
lonlders. He was dressed in a coach - 

blue greatcoat with many capos. His 
ind was in a shng made out of a dirty 
^-handkerchief, and in his other he held 
k, bj means of which l^e could just 
;e to hobble along. Ho was vor^' ill, 
Tj poor, not having been out with his 
ir nearly two months. He appeared to 

in great pcdn. The civiUty, if not 
less of his manner, threw an air of 
nent about him, that Btruck me more 
y from its contrast with tlie manners 

English belonging to the same class. 
gan: — 

tiave do dancing dogs for de streets- 
hare nothing else. I have tree dogs — 
I called Finette, anoder von Favorite, 
} her nomme, on de odor von Ozor. 
16 said, with a shrug of the shoulders, 
jrer to my inquiiy as to what the dogs 

un danse, un valse, un jomp a dc 
ind troo de hoop — non, noting else. 
ime I had de four dogs— • I did lose de 

Ah! sho had bcaucoup d'esprit — 

of vit, you say — she did jomp a de 
Btter dan all. H or nomrao was Taborine ! 
is dead dare is lung time. All ma dogs 
les habillements — the dress and dc 
hat Dey have a leotcl jackette in 
colours en ^toffe — some de red, and 
le green, and some de bleu. Deir hats 
rouge et noir — red and black, wit a 
plume- fedder, you say. Dere is some 
.1 year I liave been in dis country. I 
from Italic — Italie — Oui, Monsieur, 
: did live in a leetle ville, trento migUa, 
uile, de Parma. Jc travaille dans le 
pc, I YGck out in de countrie — ^je ne 



sais comment vous appellez la campagne. 
There is no commerce in de montagne. I am 
come in dis countiy here. I have leetel 
business to come. I thought to gagner ma 
vie — to gain my life wid my leetel dogs in 
dis coimtrie. I have dem dej& when I have 
come here from Parma — j'cu avail dix. I 
did have de ten dogs — je les apporte. I have 
carried all de ten from Italie. I did learn — 
yes — yes — de dogs to donsoin ma own coun- 
trie. It did make de cold in de montagne in 
winter, and I had not no vork dere, and I 
must look for to gain my life some oder place. 
Apr^s 9a, I have instruct my dogs to clanse. 
Yes, ils learn to danse ; I play de music, and 
dey do jomp. Non, non — pas du tout! I 
did not never beat ma dogs ; dare is a way to 
learn de dogs without no vip. Premierement, 
ven I am come hero I have gained a leetel 
monnaie — plus que now — beaucoup d'avan- 
tage — plent}' more. I am left ma logcment 
— my lodging, you say, at W hours in do 
morning, and am stay away vid ma dogs till 7 
or 8 hours in de evening. Oh ! I cannot count 
how many times de leetel dogs have danse in 
de day — twenty — dirty — forty peut-Ctre — 
all depends : sometimes I woulil gain de tree 
shilling — sometime de couple — sometime not 
nothing — all depend. Ven it did make bad 
time, I could not vork; I could not danse. 
I could not gain my life den. If it make cold 
de dogs are ill — like tout de mondc. I did 
pay plenty for de nourilure of dc dogs. Some- 
time dey did get du pain do leetel dops it^ 
bread) in de street — sometime I give dem 
de meat, and make do soup for dem. Ma 
dogs danse comme les chiens, mais dey valtz 
comme les dames, and dey stand on daro 
back-legs hke les gentilhommes. Alter I am 
come here to dis countrie two day, am terrible 
malade. I am gone to hospital, to St Bai^ 
tolome, de veek before de Jour dc Ni>cl (Christ- 
mas-day). In dat moment 1 have du fevre. 

I have rested in I'hospital quatre semaine 

four veek. Ma dogs vero at hbertie all de 
lime. Von compagnon of mine have pro- 
mised mo to take de care of ma dogs, and ho* 
have lose dem all — tout les dix. After dat I 
have bought tree oder dogs — one eananol, 
anoder von appelU * Grifon,' and de oder vas 
de dog ordinaire, — non! non! nt.t one *pull 
dog.' He no good. I mast have one mouth, 
or six semaine, to instruite ma dogs. I have 
rested in a logcment Ilalien at Saffron-hill, 
ven I am come here to Lt^ndon. Dure vas 
plenty of Italiens dare. It was tout plein — 
quite full of strangers. All come dare — dey 
come from France, from Germany, from ItoUe. 
I have paid two shillings per semaine each 
veek — only pour le lit, for de bed. Every 
von make de kitchen for himself. Vol number 
vas dare, you say? Sometime dare is i^O 
person dere, and sometime dere is dirty per- 
son in de logement, sometime more dan dat 
It is vexy petite maison. Daro is von dozen 
beds— dat is all — and two sleep demselves 



182 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



ill each bed. Sometimes, vcn dere arrive 
plenty, dey sleep demselves tree in von bed — 
but ordinoircment dere is only two. Dey is 
nil musicians dere — one play de organ, de 
piano, de guitar, do Hute, yes, dare vos some 
\ot played it, and de viol too. Do great part 
vas Itailens. Some of dem have des monkeys, 
dti odcrs d<» mice white, and des pigs d'Indes, 
(guinea-pigs) and encore oders have des 
dolls vid two lieads, and des puppets vot 
danse vid de foot on de boards. Des animals 
are in an appartcmcnt apart vid do moosick. 
Dare vos sometime tree dancing dogs, one 
dozen of mice, five or six pigs d'Indes, and 
ma monkey, altogether vid de moosick, by 
demselves. 

** Dare is all de actors vot vas dare. Ma 
treo dogs gained mo sometime two shillnn, 
sometime von shillan, and sometime I would 
rest c»n my feet all day, and not gain two sous. 
Sometimes do boys would cnsault ma dogs 
vid de stones. Dare is long time I have 
rested in London. Dare is short time I vas 
in tie cttmpogne de countree here, not much. 
London is better dan de canipagne for ma 
dogs — dare is always de vorld in London — 
de rity is large — yes ! I am always rested at 
SaCrron-hill for JO, 11 yoars. I am malade 
at prt-seut, since the ir>th of Mars ; in ma 
anus, ma legs, ma tighs have do douleure — I 
have pltnty of pains to march. Ma dogs are 
in df logement now. It is since the lOth of 
Man» d:it I have not vent out vid ma dogs — 
yes, since de 15th of Mars I have done no 
vork. Since dat time I have not paid no 
money for ma logement — it is due encore. 
Non! non! 1 have not gained my life since 
tlie L'ith of Mars. Plenty of time I have been 
vitout noting to eat. Des Itoliens at de loge- 
ment dL*y have given mo pieces of bread and 
bouilli. All ! it is verj- miserable to be poor, 
like lac. I have sixty and tirtcen years. I 
cannot march now but vith plenty of pains. 
Von doctrir have give to me a letter for to 
present ti> de poor-house. YIq did give me my 
medicine ftT nothing — gratis. He is obliged, 
he is dc doctor of de paroisse. He is a very 
brave und honest man, dat doctor dare. At de 
poor-house day have give to me a bread and 
six sous on Friday of de veek dat is past, and 
told mo to como de Vedncsday next. But I 
am arrive dere too late, and dey give me 
noting, and tell me to come de Vednesdsy 
next encore. Ma dogs dfy march now in de 
street, and cat something dare. Oh! ma 
God, tion ! dey eat noting but what dey find 
in de street ven it makes good times; but 
ven it makes bad times dey have noting at 
all, poor dogs ! ven I have it, dey have it, — 
but ven dere is noting for me to oat, dare is 
not nig for dem, and dey must go out in de 
streets and get de nouriture for themselves. 
Des enfans vot know ma dogs vill give to dem 
to eat sometimes. Oh! yes, if I had de 
means, 1 would return to Italia, ma countree. 
But I have not no silver, and not no legs to 



walk. Vot can I do ? Oh ! jes, I am voy 
sick at present. All my limbs have great 
douleur — Oh, yes ! plenty of pain.** 

CONCEBTINA PlJlYER ON THE StEAMBOATI. 

" I WAS always very fond of music, and if efV 
I heard any in the streets, I always followed 
it about. I'm nearly fifteen now ; hot I en 
remember when I was seven, being partiea- 
larly taken with music. I had an uncle who 
was captain of a steamer that run to Bidl- 
mond, and I was always on board with hia; 
and they used to have a band on board. It 
wasn't in particular a passage-boat, but m 
excursion one, and let to private parties, and 
a band always went along with them. I wii 
taken ahmg to run after orders for tlM 
steward ; and when I had nothing to do, I 
used to go and listen to them. I learn all 
their tunes by heart. They mostly pli^fld 
dances, and very seldom any sentimental 
songs, unless anybody asked them. For nw- 
self, I prefer lively tunes. I don't know modi 
operatic music, only one or two airs; but' 
they're easier to play on the concertina than 
lively music, because it's difficult to move the 
fingers very quickly. You can't hardly plm 
a hornpipe. It makes the arm ache b^ora 
you can play it all through, and it makes such 
a row with the valve working the bellows iqp 
and down, that it spoils the music. 

*'*' I had not got my instrument when I was ia 
this steamboat. 'When I heard a tune, I tued 
to whistle it. I asked my father to buy mas 
instrument but he wouldn't. I was always on 
the steamboat, helping uncle; and I coold 
have had lots of time to learn music there. 
When they, the musicians, put the harp down 
in the cabin, I'd get placing on it. There wai 
a hole in the green baize cover of the hup, 
and I used to put my hand in and work awsf 
at it. I learnt myself several tunes, such as 
the ' Sultan Polka.' I must have been eight 
years old then. I didn't play it with both 
hands : I couldn't do the bass. 

** I never had any lessons in music. Prs 
done it all out ()f my own head. Before I had ^ 
a concertina, I used to go about amusing my. 
self with a penny tin whistle. I could play It 
pretty well, not to say all tunes, but all sndi 
as I knew I could play very well on it. The 
* Ked, White, and Blue ' was my favouzits 
tune. 

" I have a brother, who is younger than I 
am, and he, before he was ten, was put oat to 
a master to learn the 'violin. Father's a 
labourer, and does something of anything he 
can get to do ; but bricklaying genendly. Ha 
paid so much a quarter for having my brother 
Henry taught. I think it was about IGs. s> 
quarter. It was a great expense for father at 
first ; but afterwards, when we was hard iqs 
Henry coiUd always ily to the fiddle to earn a 
crust. Heniy never took to music, not to si^ 
well. I can play more out of my own hssa 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR, 



183 



can by notes. He's a very good 
rw. 

8 about getting on for twelve when 
rst bought me a concertina. That 
nt was very fashionable then, and 
y had it nearly. I had an accordion 
out it was only a 1«. iid. one, and I 
ce a fancy to it somehow, although I 
y a few tunes on it. I used to see 
»ut my own height carrying concer- 
)ut the streets, and humming them, 
wanted one. There was a little boy 
he got one, and then I wanted one 
Be used to come to our house, and 
orts of tunes, for he played very well, 
le concertina, because it's like a full 
t's like haWng the fiddle and the harp 
I used to ask this little boy to lend 
instrument, and I'd work the keys 
ittle, but I couldn't do any airs, 
y entirely out of my own head, for I 
d any lessons at alL I learn the 
)m hearing other people playing of 
f I hear a street band, such as a 
1 harp and cornopean playing a tune, 
them and catch the air; and if it's 
3f a easy tune at all, I can pick it up 
n, for I never want to hear it more 
e played on an instrument. 
St, after bothering father a long time, 
t me a half-crown concertina. I was 
len he brought it into my room, and 
on the bed ; when I woke up I see it. 
ly set to work, and before I had got 
I learnt * Pop goes the Weasel.' I 
pleased. I was up and dressed, and 
, all day long. I never used to let 
x>uch, not even my own father hardly, 
tie should break it. I did break it 
I then I was regular dull, for fear I 
86 my tunes. 

•k me six months before I could play 
id then I could play a'most any tune 

The fingers had learnt the keys, and 
ere the notes was, so that I could 
16 dark. My brother could play the 
U, long before I could do any tunes. 

to play together duets, such as *A 
Boat unto the Ferry.' We never 
3nt out together in the streets and 
ther, only once or twice, because a 
d a concertina don't sound well to- 
iless a harp's with it, and then it's 

I came to get on the steamboats was 
ler went to take a trip up to Kew one 
wanted to go, and he said if I could 
fSare I might go. So I thought I'd 
»)ncertina and tiy. So I went, and I 
Ukt day about 9«., all in halfpence and 
That was only by going up to Kew 
ng back again. It was on a Whitsun- 
Then I thought I'd do it again the 
and I think I took about the same, 
ept on them all together. I didn't 
he Kew boats, because they had got 



their regular musicians, and they complained 
to the superintendent, and he forbid me going. 
Then I went to the Woolwich boats, and I 
used to earn a heap of money, as much as 
10«. every day, and I was at it bSX the week for 
the season. 

" I usen't to pay any fare, but I got a free 
pass. It was mostly the crow. When I got 
out at the pier. I used to tell them I'd been 
playing, and they would let me pass. Now I 
know near every man that is on the river, and 
they let me go on any boat 1 like. They con- 
sider I draw customers, and amuse them 
during the trip. They won't let some hardly 
play on board only me, because I've been on " 
them such a long time — these three years. 
I know all the pier-masters, too, and they are 
all very kind to me. Sometimes, when I'm 
waiting for a boat to go up anywhere, I play 
on the piers, and I always do pretty fair. 

'* In winter I go on the boats all the same, 
and I play down in the cabin. Some of the 
passengers will object to it if they are reading, 
and then 1 have to leave off, or I should put 
my own self in a hobble, for they would go and 
tell the captain ; and if he wouldn't say any- 
thing, then they would tell the superintendent. 
In winter and wet weather is my worst time ; 
but even then I mostly take my 3«. In the 
winter time, my best time is between three 
o'clock and six, when the gentlemen are 
coming home from office ; and I never hardly 
come out before two o'clock. In summer its 
good from twelve till eight o'clock. The pas- 
sengers come to go to the Crystal Palace in 
the morning part Those that are going out 
for pleasure are my best customers. In the 
summer I always take at the rate of about 6«. 
a-day. Pleasure-people mostly ask me for 
dancing times; and the gentlemen coming 
from business prefer song tunes. I have got 
a good many regular gentlemen, who always 
give me something when they are coming 
from business. There are some who give me 
Qd, every day I see them ; but sometimes they 
go up by a different boat to what I'm in. 
There's one always gives me 6</., whether I'm 
playing or not ; and it's about four o'clock or 
half-past that I mostly see him. 

" Li winter my hands gets very cold indeed, 
so that I can scarcely feel the keys. Some- 
times I can't move them, and I have to leave 
off, and go down below and warm my hands at 
the cabin fire. 

** In the summer I sometimes go out with a 
mate of mine, who plays the piccolo. He's 
very clever indeed, and plays most extraordi- 
naxy. He's a little bigger than me. He lives 
by playing music in the boats. W^e don't play 
in the streets. I never played in the streets 
in my life. He don't play in the winter, but 
works with his father, who makes hair-oil and 
that, and sends it out in the country. He's a 
regular perfumer; aj^d serves chandlers* shops 
and that like. 

** There's a tone we play together called the 



184 



L0NJ>OK LABOUR AND TBB LOiU)0» fOOE. 



*Camp at Chobham/ It begins ^Ui my 
doing the bugle, and he answers it on his fife. 
Then we do it in the distance like. Then 
come all the different marches the soldiers 
march to. Some people are so fond of it, 
that when they see us they come up and ask 
us to give it them. It takes a good quarter of 
an hour to play it When I'm with him, 1 
earn about the same as when I'm alone ; but 
I like to go with him, because it's company. 

*' One of the songs I play is, * Mother, is the 
battle over?' That's lately come out. It is a 
lady's song, and they generally ask me for it. 
They also ask me for &e Varsoyienne. At the 
present time, the girls mostly ask me for 
* PoUy, won't you tiy me, oh ! ' They like 
anything that is new, if it is a very pretty 
tune like * Polly, won't you try me, oh ! ' 
Sometimes I forget the tunes ; they go right 
out of my head, and then, perhaps, a month 
afterwards they'll come back again. Perhaps 
I'll be fingering tlie keys, and I'll accidental 
do the beginning of the air I'd forgot, and 
then I remember it all of a sudden the same 
as before. Then I feel quite glad that I've 
got it back again, and I'll keep on playing it 
for a long time. 

** When once I begin to play, I can scarcely 
leave off. I used at first to play as I went 
along the streets, but now I fieel too tired to 
do it. If I haven't been out in the boats, I 
must have a play just the same. I like it very 
much. I don't like any of the other instru- 
mcnts, now I've learnt this one so welL The 
fiddle is pretty good, but nothing, to my fancy, 
Uke the concertina. 

" The concertina I use now cost mo 16«. 
It's got twenty double keys — one when I pull 
the bellows out and one when I close iu I 
wear out an instrument in three months. The 
edges of the bellows get worn out : then I 
have to patch them up, till they get so weak 
that it mostly doubles over. It costs me about 
1<. a- week to have them kept in order. They 
get out of tune very soon. They file them, 
and put fresh notes in. I get all my repairs 
done trade price. I tune my instrument 
myself. The old instruments I sell to the 
boys, for about as much as I give for a new one. 
They are very dear ; but I get them so cheap 
when I buy them, I only give 10«. for a 20«. 
instrument. 

" I've got a beautiful instrument at home, 
and I give a pound for it, and it's worth two. 
Those I buy come from Germany, where they 
make them, and then they are took to this 
warehouse, where I buy them. 

" Once I was turned off the penny steam- 
boats. There was such a lot of musicians 
come on board, and they got so cheeky, that 
when they was told not to play they would. 
just the same, and so a stop was put to all 
music on board. If one was stopped all must 
be stopped, co I was told not to go. I still had 
my fourpenny boats. I never used to go on 
the penny boats hardly, for I never used to 



get much money in th«m. Kowl mia 
go on them just the same as before. 

** I caa't say how often I've been i 
Thames. I never go as far as Chelsea 1 
only about twice a-day, for most of tike 
get out between London-bridge and 
ehns. My general run is down to Hun( 
and back to Blackfriare; and I do that 
fifty times a-day. 

" I never go out on the Sunday. I 
go to a Sunday-school, and then take i 
Father wants me to be a scholar : I ei 
and write. I'm a teacher at the S 
school, and make the children read 
lessons. I know multiplication, and ad 
and all them. I go to school every ni 
half-past six and come home at nine, 
makes me and my brother go to school 
day, and we pay 1«. each »-week. It's 
p:()od school, and the master is very 
There are about 30 night scholars a 
day ones, besides about 20 girls. His da 
teaches the girls. 

'* At night when I leave school I ( 
play music three nights a- week at a bal 
brother goes with me. Wegotoaplaoc 
Westminster-road on Mondays, Wedm 
and Thursdays. It's a very nice ball 
and there are generally about 200 
They pay 1«. each. There are four mac 
a fiddle, a harp, a fife, and a conceiti] 
isn't a Casino; it's an assembly-roomf 
teaches on three nights in the week, a 
pupils assemble and practise on ttaie 
nights. 

** The room is like a street almost, i 
music sounds well in it. The othei 
play from notes, and I join in. I lean 
airs this way. My mother and fathe 
very fond of dancing, and they used 
there nearly every night, and I'd go 
with them, and then I'd Usten and lai 
tunes. My brother regularly played 
He was about ten years old when 1: 
went to play there ; but he could pi 
music that was put before him. In U 
time he blows the bellows at a blac 
and engineer's. The first time I pUyc 
orchestra I felt a little strange. I had 1 
rehearsal. I went twenty times before 
confident enough to appear at night, 
play the tunes well enough, but I didn' 
when to leave off at the exact time th 
At last I learnt how to do it. I don't ha 
stand before me. I never look at any 
others' music. I look at the dancing, 
got to look at the time tliey're dancing i 
watch their figures when they leave ofi 
proprietor knew father, and that's how '. 
to have the job. I get 24. Gd, a-nig 
plaj-ing there, and plenty to eat and 
There's bread and cheese and a drop o 
On the other three nights when I'm not 
ball I stop at home, and get a bit c 
Father sends us to bed early, about ha 
nine, when I come home from schoo 



ZOKBOK LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOS. 



189 



baU-nights rm sometimea up to two o'clock in 
tUe moming. 

** I take all the money I earn home to father, 
and he gives me a few halfipence for myself. 
All the year round it comes to 5«. a-dny. I 
buy my own food when I'm out on the boats. 
I go to a cookshop. I like pudding or pie 
better than anything, and next to that I like 
a bit of bread and butter as well as anything, 
except pie. I have meat or veal pi(;s. They 
ehargo you Qd, a-plate, and you have potatoes 
•od all. .fVftcr that I have a couple of pen orth 
of pudding with sugar. I drink water. My 
dinner comes to about 9<i. a-day, for I genonilly 
liave a pen'orth of apples as dessert Itmnkes 
you very hungry going about in the steam- 
boats — very much so. 

*• I'm tlie only boy that goes about tho 
BtPara-boats with a concertina ; indeed, I'm the 
only boy above-bridge that goes abrnit with 
music at all on the boats. I know the old 
gentleman who plays the harp at the Essex 

Eier. I often go and join in with him when I 
md there, and we go shares. He mostly 
plays there of a moming, and we mostly of an 
tficmoon. We two are tho only ones that 
play on the piers." 

TOK-TOM PlATEHS. 

Wtthtn the last few years East Indians play- 
inn on the tom-tom have occasionally mrnie 
thf ir appearance in the London streeti). The 
hidian or Lascar crossing-sweepers, who 
earned their living by alternately plying the 
hrwtm and sitting as models to artists — tho 

» Indian converted to Christianity, who, in his 
calico clothes, with his brown bosom showing, 
mw seen, particularly on cold days, croucliing 
on the pavement and seUing tracts, have 
latvly disapi>caro{l from our Ijighways, and in 
thi-ir sieatl the tom-tom players have made 
their appearance. 

I saw two of these performers in one of tho 
WvMt-end streets, creeping slowly down the 
ceutfi; of the road, and b<*ating their drums 
with their hands, whilst they drawled out a 
kind of moumftd song. Their mode of 
parading the streets is to walk one following 
the ntbiT, beating their oystcr-harrel-shaped 
dmms with their hands, which they make llap 
aU>ut from the wrist like flounders out of 
water, whilst they continue their droning 
Bong, and halt at every twenty paces to look 
round. 

One of these performers was a haudsome 
lad, with a face such as I have seen in the 
drawings of the princes in the " Arabian Nights 
Kutertainments." He had a copper skin and 
long black hair, which he brushed behind his 
ears. On his head was a white turban, msule 
to cock over one ear, like a hat worn on ono 
side, and its rim stood out like the stopper to 
a scent-bottle. 
The costume of the man greatly resembled 

, tW of ft gentleman wearing his waistcoat out- 



side his shirt, only tho waisteoat was of green 
merino, and adorned with silk embroidery, his 
waist being bound in with a scarf. Linen 
trowsors and red knitted cuffs, to keep his 
Avrists worm, completed his costume. 

This man was as tall, slim, and straight, 
and as gracefully proportioned, as a bronze 
image. His face had a serious, melancholy 
h^ok, which seemed to work strongly on tho 
feelings of the niurses and the ser\'ant-girls who 
stopped to look at him. His companion, 
although dressed in the same costume, (tho 
only difference being that the colour of his 
waistcr)at was red instead of green,) formed a 
comiral contrast to his sentimental Othello- 
loftking partner, for he was wliat a Yankee 
would call " a rank nigger." His face, indeed, 
was as black and elastic-looking as a printer's 
dabber. 

The name of the negro- boy was Peter. Be- 
yond '* Yes" and *' No," he appeared to be per- 
fectly unacquainted with the Enghsh language. 
His Othello friend was 17 years of age, and 
fi])oko English perfectly. I could not help 
taking great interest in tliis lad, both from tho 
pecuharity of his conversation, which turned 
chiefly upon the obedience due from children 
to their parents, and was almost fanatical in 
its tlieory of perfect submissicm, and also from 
his singularly handsome countenance; for 
his eyes were almond-shaped, and as black as 
eM(T-berries, whilst, as he spoke, the nostrils 
of his aquilino nose beat like a pulse. 

When 1 attempted to repeat after them one 
of their Indian songs, they both burst out into 
uproarious merriment. Peter rolling about in 
his chair like a serenader playing *' the bones," 
and the young Othello laughing as if he was 
being tickled. 

In speaking of the duties which they owed 
to their parents, tho rules of conduct which 
they laid down as those to he followed by a 
good son were wonderful for the completeness 
of the obedience which they held should be 
paid to a father's commands. They did not 
seem to consider that the injunctions of a 
mother should be looked upon as sacredly as 
those of the male parent. They told me that 
tho soul of the child was damned if even he 
disputed to obey the father's command, 
althouffh he knew it to be wrong, and contrary 
to God's laws. "-iVllah," they said, would 
xnsit any wickedness that was committed 
through such obedience upon the father, but 
he would bless the child for his submission. 
Their story was as follows : — 

•♦ Most of the tom-tom players arc Indians, 
but we are both of us Arabs.' Tlie Arabs are 
ju«5t equally as good as the Indians at playing 
the tom-tom, but they haven't got exactly to 
tho learning of the manufacture of them yet. 
I come from Mocha, and so does Peter, my 
companion; only his father belongs to what 
we call the Abshee tribe, and that's what makes 
him so much darker than what I am. Tho 
Abshee tribe are now outside of Arabia, up by 



186 



LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR. 



the Golf of Persia. They are much the 
same as the Mucdad people, ^^ it's all the same 
tribe like. 

** My name is Usef Asman, and my father 
has been over here twelve years now. He came 
here in the English army, I've heard him say, 
for he was in the 77th Bengal Native Infantry ; 
but he wasn't an Indian, but enlisted in the 
service and fought through the Sikh war, and 
was wounded. He hasn't got a pension, for 
he sent his luggage through Paris to England, 
and he lost his writings. The East India 
Company only told him that he must wait un- 
til they heard fh>m India, and that's been 
going on for now six years. 

** Mother came homo with father and me, 
and two brothers and a sister. I'm the se- 
cond eldest. My brother is thirty-six, and he 
was in the Crimea, as steward on board the 
Hoyal Hydaspes, a steam screw she is. He was 
17 and I was G years old when I came over. 
My brother is a fine strapping fellow, over six 
feet high, and the musdes in his arms are as 
big round as my thigh. 

*•*■ I don't remember my native country, but 
Peter does, for he's only been here for two 
years and five months. He likes his own 
country better than England. His father left 
Arabia to go to Bombay, and there he keeps 
large cofiee-shops. He's worth a little money. 
His shops are in the low quarter of the town, 
just the same as Druiy Lane may be, though 
it's the centre of the town. They call the 
place the Nacopoora taleemoulla. 

" Before father went into the army he was 
an interpreter in Arabia. His father was a 
horse-dealer. My father can apeak eight or 
nine different languages fluently, besides a 
litUe of others. He was the interpreter who 
got Dr. Woolfe out of Bokhara prison, when 
he was put in because they thought he was a 
spy. Father was sent for by the chief to ex- 
plain what this man's business was. It is the 
Mogul language they speak there. My father 
was told to get him out of the country in twenty- 
four hours, and my father killed his own horse 
and camel walking so hard to get him away. 

" We was obliged to put ourselves up to 

Soing about the streets. Duty and necessity 
rst compelled me to do it. Father couldn't 
get his pension, and, of course, we couldn't 
sit at home and starve ; so father was obliged 
to go out and play the drum. He got his tom- 
toms from an Arab vessel which came over, 
and they made them a present to him. 

"We used before now, father and myself, 
to go to artists or modelers, to have our like- 
nesses taken. We went to Mr. Armitage, 
when he was painting a battle in India. If 
you recollect, I'm leaning down by the rocks, 
whilst the